Former Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts had criminals and government bureaucracy to fight when he took control of the department in 2009. In the end, it was the paper-pushers, not the dope-pushers, that pushed him out the door.
Batts resigned from the top-cop job in Oakland after receiving a scathing report from federal investigators saying that the department was falling short in complying with a bevy of court-ordered reforms, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The report specifically singled out Batts, saying that "ultimately the leadership of the department that must be the impetus for reform and public confidence."
Oakland's police force has been under federal scrutiny since the infamous "Riders" case, in which four officers were accused of "imposing vigilante justice" in West Oakland, according to the newspaper. Federal courts have been watching over Oakland since 2003, and will likely continue monitoring OPD until 2014, the newspaper said.
Under court direction, Oakland police were instructed to improve its relations with citizens, provide better explanations for use of force, and respond better to citizen complaints. Improvement in all of these areas were found lacking, according to the report.
Attorneys and legal experts contacted by the newspaper did not fault Mayor Jean Quan for the department's failure to improve. That leaves Batts, the timing of whose departure is telling.
Batts "was a reluctant leader when it came to implementing the (reforms)," according to Oakland attorney Dan Siegel, a frequent department critic and advisor to Quan. "You have a chain of command. Once orders are given, they're to be obeyed. There's not a lot of opportunities for democratic decision-making or passive resistance."