Richmond Police Chief on Leave Due to ‘Unfolding Family Situation'

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Richmond Police Chief Bisa French is on paid administrative leave "because of an unfolding family situation," Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said, citing an email sent to him Wednesday night by the city manager.

Oakland police would only say in response to a request for information about an investigation by Vallejo police into criminal allegations against Sgt. Lee French, Bisa French's husband, that the member of the police force is administrative leave.

It’s a family crisis that’s now spilling out in public. The two are parents to an 18-year-old daughter.

Last week, court records from Contra Costa County showed the 18-year-old filed a domestic violence restraining order against her parents. A hearing is set for Oct. 25.

"We are conducting an investigation into an incident involving members of the Richmond and Oakland Police Departments," Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said in a statement.

"As the Chief of Police, when an incident occurs in Vallejo which involves police officers employed by another department, it is my responsibility to contact the employing department to inform them of accusations involving one of their members, so the employing agency can launch an internal affairs investigation."

According to French’s attorney Mike Rains, the 18-year-old was a "straight A" student until she got caught up with a 33-year-old man named Oho McNair, accused of being her pimp.

“We have a parent who loves her daughter and has set high standards for her daughter and has seen her daughter grow through the first 17 years of her life as an outstanding person, smart and motivated to succeed," he said. "Only to meet this guy and have her mind turned and completely taken over by this guy."

Oakland police said Thursday they are conducting an "internal investigation into criminal allegations involving an OPD member."

"After being contacted by the Vallejo Police Department, OPD initiated an internal investigation into the criminal allegations being investigated by Vallejo Police," Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Kim Armstead said.

“We owe her a lot of compassion, we owe her a lot of support so she can get thru this,” said Butt.

There’s more potential legal trouble stemming from an incident in September. 

Rains confirmed to NBC Bay Area that French and her husband visited McNair’s mother at her home in Vallejo. 

"There were certainly pleas, anguished pleas by both parents to the mother for her son to return their daughter,” said Rains.

Rains added that McNair’s mother told police the couple made violent threats against her.

Rains said the couple denies that. No criminal charges have been filed and Rains added the couple will be talking to investigators in Vallejo.

As for McNair, authorities said he was arrested by US Marshals this week for human trafficking and pimping and is currently sitting in a jail cell at Santa Rita.

I’d like to see her come back tomorrow, I think she’s a great chief, she’s doing a good job,” Butt told NBC Bay Area Thursday.

While Bisa French is away, Richmond police will be led by Assistant Chief Louie Tirona, Butt said, citing a Oct. 8 email sent to him by City Manager Laura Snideman.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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