After Corruption Allegations Aimed at Oakland Police Internal Affairs, Anti Police-Terror Project Calls for Truly Independent Investigation

Oakland Police officer (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Sarah Chayet

OAKLAND, CA – The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) Thursday strongly urged an independent investigation into the Oakland Police Department (OPD), claiming that past OPD internal investigations have been unsuccessful and corrupt.

The APTP’s call to action comes after what the APTP called the OPD’s recent “collective failure to discipline Phong Tran,” an OPD officer charged with perjury and bribery of a witness. This bribery, according to an APTP statement, resulted in two wrongful convictions.

APTP called this alleged failure “one of several,” pointing to other perceived missteps in the recent past: a scandal involving OPD’s ex-Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who allegedly failed to discipline an officer who was accused of a hit-and-run while in an OPD patrol vehicle, according to the Associated Press.

“We have always known that the police cannot investigate themselves.” said APTP Deputy Director James Burch. “We are also clear that the Oakland Police Department, currently $30 million over budget during a financial crisis, is perpetually in scandal. We need the ability to hold this department accountable for the crimes it commits before someone else is harmed.”

This accountability, the APTP argues, must come from forces outside the OPD.

APTP suggested “the highest levels” of members and officials of the OPD may be complicit in the corruption, naming OPD Deputy Chief in Charge of Investigations Drennon Lindsey–who is married to ex-Chief Armstrong–and Lead Internal Affairs Investigator Mega Lee.

An article from the East Bay Times also names Capt. Kevin Kaney and Lt. Hamann Nguyen, who both face disciplinary action as a result of external investigations.

“It is clear that the entire investigatory arm of the Oakland Police Department needs to be reviewed to provide relief to the Oaklanders who have undoubtedly had their rights violated and to hold the department accountable,” said the APTP.

Executive Director and Co-founder of APTP Cat Brooks said, “There is no way that Armstrong was not aware of his wife Drennon Lindsey’s behavior. What is more likely is that this is an institutionalized and accepted practice inside of OPD, as it is in police departments around the country.”

“This is not about individuals—it’s about the violent and corrupt nature of policing as a whole,” continued Brooks.

“Accountability and transparency are what is critical in this immediate moment, but the long-term need is to build a system of public safety that is rooted in humanity, prevention, justice and equity that actually protects, serves and promotes true community safety. OPD is not, nor will it ever be, that,” Brooks said.

About The Author

I'm a recent California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo grad. I majored in English and received a minor in Studio Art. In the fall, I plans to go back to school for a master's degree in English Literature. Currently, I am a transcript editor for CalMatters, and I hope to enter the field of technical writing someday. In my freetime, I love to draw, go on roadtrips, and camp

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