Report: Oakland police had ‘racist’ photos of mayor and federal judge

By Arturo Garcia
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 14:42 EDT
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A riot police officer in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Flickr user pseudoplacebo.
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A new report by a federal monitor says Oakland police had pictures altered “in a manner … found to be racist” of two officials, including the judge who placed the department under supervision.

According to The Oakland Tribune, the report by the department’s federally ordered monitor, Robert Warshaw, said the drawings, compounded by the department’s treatment of Occupy Oakland protesters last year, raise serious questions about how seriously it is taking the opportunity to clean up its act.

Warshaw’s report does not name the officials whose faces were defamed, but The Tribune is reporting that they are Oakland mayor Jean Quan, who is Asian-American and U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, an African-American. In January, Henderson ordered police chief Howard Jordan to “consult” with Warshaw on policy and tactics changes, among other areas, saying the department was “woefully behind its peers around the state and the nation.”

Motions on whether the department should be placed under federal control entirely are scheduled to begin later this year.

Quan told The San Francisco Chronicle Monday she had not heard about the photographs, and that a federal takeover of the department “was not an option.”

Warshaw, a former police chief who also served as the Associate Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton administration, appointed to monitor the program following the 2003 settlement of a police misconduct case where a gang of officers calling themselves “The Riders” had been found to be attacking suspects and planting drugs on them. Henderson’s ruling in January expanded his role, while the department continued to try to meet a set of 22 requirements.

As of this month, Warshaw says, 13 of them had been met. But documentation of police work and supervision from upper-level officials are among the issues still nagging the department.

“The pursuit may be aided by those goals,” he wrote, “but achieving progress will require commitments not yet fully recognized by the Oakland Police Department.”

[Oakland Police Department photo by user pseudoplacebo on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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