A federal judge on Friday ordered the Oakland Police Department to implement an expanded system of reviewing officer-involved shootings to ensure the department looks at how it might avoid using deadly force in such incidents.
U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson issued a three-page order that rebuked department and city leaders for delays in implementing the expanded review process, which was first recommended by a court-appointed monitor in July.
Henderson oversees the settlement of a lawsuit arising from the Riders case, in which Oakland police officers were found to have abused suspects and violated their civil rights. Under the settlement agreement, the department is required to undertake an exhaustive series of reforms and must report on its progress to both a court-appointed monitor and compliance director.
In July, after the department's first fatal officer-involved shooting in more than two years, the monitor, Robert Warshaw, recommended that the department's review of such incidents be widened to look at "whether the use of deadly force may have been avoided, and to identify tactics, strategies, and opportunities as events unfolded that may have avoided such an outcome.”
According to Henderson's Friday order, Warshaw's recommendation began a process in which Chief Sean Whent signed off on the expanded review concept, developed language for a new policy and, in November, conferred on the new policy with the Oakland Police Officers Association, the union representing rank-and-file members of the department. After that "meet and confer" process, Henderson wrote, Whent said the new policy would go into effect this week.