After announcing his resignation Tuesday, Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker admitted that he made some mistakes in his position but said he believes "the department is in pretty good shape."
Tucker, who will retire effective Feb. 28, said that if he were to redo his four years as chief, "I would work hard not to repeat mistakes."
He acknowledged that errors were made in investigating the shooting death of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey on Aug. 2, 2007.
The FBI is investigating the internal affairs leader as well as other problems at the Police Department.
Tucker said the beating occurred eight years ago, in 2000, long before he became chief, and that he didn't know about it because by law he only had access to the last five years of the commander's record.
Tucker said the Oakland City Council reviewed the misconduct allegations on two occasions, most recently just before he was named chief, yet no disciplinary actions were taken against the commander.
City Council President Jane Brunner said she thinks the city's next police chief should be someone with experience in an urban environment such as Oakland. Brunner said she thinks Tucker was ill-prepared for the post because he spent nearly 40 years in the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, where he mainly focused on crime in less populated areas.
Attorneys Fear Reforms Could Be Slower
Attorneys James Chanin and John Burris, who won a $10.5 million settlement against the Oakland Police Department in 2003 for alleged misconduct, said Tuesday that they fear the resignation of Tucker may slow reforms that are mandated by the settlement.
Speaking at a news conference at Burris's office, the two lawyers also said Mayor Ron Dellums should conduct a nationwide search for a new chief and shouldn't appoint anyone on the current command staff.
Chanin said, "There's a real question if the Oakland Police Department is capable of governing itself" and he believes it needs a fresh look that can only be accomplished by an experienced administrator from the outside.
The so-called "Riders" civil settlement provided funds to more than 120 plaintiffs who said they were beaten and had illegal narcotics planted on them by Oakland police officers.
The settlement initially required that a series of reforms aimed at ensuring better police practices be implemented by 2008. But on March 19, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who is overseeing the case, extended it another two years, until Jan. 21, 2010.
Chanin said if all the reforms aren't completed by then he and Burris may ask Henderson to find the Oakland Police Department in contempt of court.
The two attorneys called on Dellums to name a new chief as soon as possible.