Motion seeks to have feds take over Oakland police

Associated Press Published: October 4, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Lawyers overseeing the terms of a settlement stemming from a decade-old Oakland police corruption scandal filed a motion Thursday requesting that the federal government take over the embattled department.

Attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin filed the motion in U.S. District Court in San Francisco asking Judge Thelton Henderson for a federal receiver to oversee the department. They argued Oakland city officials and the police have chronically failed to meet reforms they agreed to after a 2003 lawsuit claimed brutality and other allegations.

The settlement initially called for the reforms to be completed within five years. But the lawyers said high-ranking city officials have thwarted those efforts.

"Despite empty promises by three City Administrators, four Police Chiefs, and the City's inside and outside counsel ... compliance with important reforms has failed," the motion said.

The lawsuit stemmed from a from a scandal in which several rogue officers were charged with beating or framing drug suspects in 2000 along with other claims that resulted in nearly $11 million in payments to 119 plaintiffs and attorneys.

In January, a frustrated Henderson said he "remains in disbelief" that the police department has failed to adopt the reforms and threatened federal takeover of the agency.

"This department finds itself woefully behind its peers around the state and nation," the judge wrote in a scathing report.