Report Details OPD Indiscriminately Pointing Weapon At Baby, 5 Others; As Compliance Regresses

OAKLAND | The court-appointed independent monitor overseeing reforms ordered a decade ago at the Oakland Police Department said compliance decreased for a second consecutive quarter, in a report released Thursday. The report also references shocking allegations of two OPD officers pointed their guns at a sleeping 19-month-old baby.

“During a search warrant, two officers pointed their firearms at a sleeping 19-month-old child who, of course, posed no immediate threat to the officers or others. The crime being investigated, according to the reports, involved a misdemeanor offense,” wrote Independent Monitor Robert Warshaw.

The 85-page document also reports five incidents occurring sometime between July 1, 2012 and September 30, 2012 when OPD officers raised their weapons at citizens while no crime was committed.

Despite comments made last week by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan sounding pleased by the OPD’s pace of conforming to the court-ordered reforms, Warshaw’s report casts a different light on the state of the department seemingly adverse to institutional change following the 2003 Riders police scandal.
The report admonishes the OPD was regressing in its compliance on two areas, specifically, supervisor/managerial accountability and reporting police misconduct.

“The shift from stagnation to decline should be as unacceptable to all Parties, as it is to us,” said Warshaw. “My hope would be that marking this backwards turn would become an opportunity for the Department to more fully assess its status regarding the Negotiated Settlement Agreement and to renew its original commitment, now a decade old, to effective and constitutional policing. One thing should be clear from the long history of this Agreement: stagnation – and, now, decline – will not diminish the Court’s expectation, or the Monitor’s resolve, that the Department live up to the terms of the Agreement.”

The act of pointing weapons on citizens without cause is an on-going problem with officers in Oakland. Thursday’s report is the seventh consecutive detailing the department out of compliance, noted Warshaw. In addition, the racial breakdown of 61 “use of force” events has remained consistent and sharply slanted toward black (70 percent) and Hispanic suspects (22 percent). Of those, according to Warshaw, 87 percent of the cases where OPD raised a firearm against black suspects were found to be unjustified, while 13 percent of Hispanic suspects were unnecessary. In contrast, only 3 percent of the events included whites and 2 percent for Asians.

OPD officers are also failing in large numbers to turn on digital video camera located on their shoulders during patrols, wrote Warshaw.

The report, however, gives no additional information about the alleged pointing of weapons by two officers at sleeping baby, other than the event occurred during a search warrant.