Oakland, CA

Over two dozen OPD officers disciplined for actions during George Floyd protests

Built in the Bay

(Natasha Moustache / Getty Images)

(OAKLAND, Calif.) More than two dozen officers have been disciplined for their actions during last summer's protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing, according to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Schaaf noted that a majority of the issues stemmed from a youth-led protest June 1 that started in front of Oakland Technical High School.

Roughly 1,000 people from that rally eventually broke off and marched toward police headquarters downtown. Officers there fired tear gas and rubber bullets at that group of protesters because, according to then Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong, officers felt they were in danger. Armstrong said officers reportedly saw some people "preparing Molotov cocktails." He noted there were no children or elderly present in the crowd.

The molotov cocktail assertion has not been independently verified and dozens of witnesses dispute Armstrong's claim that a Molotov cocktail was being prepared.

On June 1, 2020, Oakland instituted an 8 p.m. curfew in an attempt to quell protests and street actions. During this June 1 incident, the tear gas and rubber bullets were deployed roughly 15 minutes prior to curfew.

Armstrong, who is now chief of police, will share more disciplinary details with the public Wednesday afternoon.

"I expect him to be as transparent as the law allows," Schaaf told KTVU. "Oaklanders deserve no less."

Schaaf did note that it is unlikely that Armstrong will name the officers based on specific legal protections for police. Despite this claim, SB 1421 mandates the release of information including but not limited to, officer's names. A number of protesters and witnesses have indicated that they were injured by the tear gas and rubber bullets but it is up to the city attorney to determine the extent of those injuries, which have been detailed in two federal lawsuits.

A law put forward by State Sen. Nancy Skinner, SB 16, would mandate the release of all use of force records regardless of the caliber of injury.

"We are going to be changing policy to ensuring officers won't be allowed to work such a long period under such intense circumstances," Schaaf said. "Those were hectic, crazy days in Oakland."

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