SAN FRANCISCO — For nearly a decade, the city of Oakland’s ability to maintain control over its own police force has been hanging by a thread.
And things just took a turn for the worse.
On Monday, the independent monitor appointed by a federal judge to oversee the Oakland Police Department issued a report questioning whether its leadership had either the ability or willingness to make drastic and necessary reforms. The report also expressed dismay over a pair of racially insensitive photos posted at OPD headquarters.
In an incident that monitor Rober Warshaw found “troubling,” an OPD employee reported to a lieutenant that photographs of an elected city official and a federal judge had been defaced “in a manner that [the] Internal Affairs Division found to be racist, insulting and inappropriate.”
The photos were taken down within two days. However, the report charges that “defacing in a racially offensive manner of the photographs of public officials—or, for that matter, anyone—in the police administration building strikes at the heart of the negotiated settlement agreement [under which Warshaw has been evaluating the law enforcement agency].”
While the report doesn’t reveal identities of the elected official or federal judge in question, sources familiar with the matter told the San Francisco Chronicle that the photos were of Chinese-American Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and African-American Judge Thelton Henderson, the latter of whom holds the department’s ultimate fate in his hands.