Acting Assistant Chief Will Help City Administrator Run Oakland Police Department

Oakland police also say a commander has been placed on administrative leave in connection to racist text messages.

The problems continue to mount for Oakland's embattled police department.

Mayor Libby Schaaf's appointment of the city administrator Friday to run the police force may have been against state rules, prompting her on Monday to name an acting assistant chief to help lead the department.

Acting Assistant Chief David Downing is now running the day-to-day operations of the police department, Schaaf said, and will work with City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who will oversee the department.

Ralph Brown, the spokesman for the Peace Officers Standards and Training Agency (POST), said state government code Section 38630 and an opinion by the California Attorney General's Office state that a police department must be under the control of a police chief and having the same person serve as city administrator and chief of police is illegal.

But Schaaf said in a prepared statement, "Tactical and operational decisions will remain with Oakland police commanders as they always have. Administrative and personnel decisions will come directly to the city administrator (Landreth)."

Schaaf, who accused Brown of creating "confusion," said Section 38640 "applies only to general law cities and not to charter cities," such as Oakland.

The state Attorney General's Office weighed in with a statement Monday:

"The allegations of misconduct are extremely disturbing. The exploitative behavior alleged is not only egregious, but if true, also reflects a serious breach of the trust placed in law enforcement by the communities we are sworn to serve. There must be swift and clear accountability for any wrongdoing. Restoring public trust in the Oakland Police Department requires sound and strong leadership. The Mayor’s decision to appoint the City Administrator to oversee the Oakland Police Department in administrative matters appears consistent with the city’s charter and state law."

Landreth and Downing are the latest people tapped to run the police department in the wake of a growing series of scandals. The pair replace Paul Figueroa, who served two days as the city's sixth police chief since 2011 before resigning on Friday.

"I think the level of chaos and confusion is totally unacceptable," said City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan. "We've been trying to rebuild that connection between the community and police, and seeing this level of dysfunction undermines that."

On Monday, police also said a member of the department has been placed on administrative leave.

NBC Bay Area has confirmed the member placed on leave is Lt. Tony Jones, who allegedly sent racist text messages to four other officers in the department.

The department is also dealing with allegations more than a dozen Oakland police officers had sex with a teenage prostitute.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

we've been trying to rebuild that connection between the community and police and seeing this level of dysfunction undermines that
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