Oakland PD "Doesn't Get It": Judge

New hearing set for January to check on department's progress.

By Bay City News
|  Saturday, Sep 24, 2011  |  Updated 4:39 PM PDT
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Oakland PD "Doesn't Get It": Judge

Jodi Hernandez

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts has a few more months to show progress and reform to a federal judge.

A federal judge criticized the Oakland Police Department Thursday for its slow pace in making reforms required by the settlement of a major police misconduct case eight years ago.

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson said Oakland is "a city that has still not complied with the reforms that were proposed by its own experts nearly a decade ago."

Henderson said police issues that have arisen in the past year "indicate that the city and the police department still don't get it" in terms of making major changes.

However, Henderson stopped short of placing the department under federal control and set another hearing for January to see how much progress the department has made by then.

Thursday's hearing was the latest in a long series of hearings stemming from an agreement on Jan. 22, 2003, that settled a lawsuit filed by 119 Oakland citizens who alleged that four officers known as the "Riders" beat them, made false arrests and planted evidence on them in 2000.

Three of the four so-called "Riders" officers were tried in two lengthy criminal trials in 2002-03 and 2004-05, but all of the charges were eventually dismissed after the trials ended in a combination of acquittals on some counts and jury deadlocks on others. The fourth officer is believed to have fled the country to avoid prosecution.

The settlement included payments of $10.5 million to the plaintiffs and their attorneys and calls for the department to make reforms such as increased field supervision, better training and improved investigation of citizen complaints.

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