“I reject the Chief’s principal conclusions in this matter.”
Those few words summarize the February 19, 2019 report by Oakland’s Compliance Director, Robert Warshaw. Those few words should end the career of OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick in Oakland.
The proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” should be the OPD cover-up of the murder of one Joshua Pawlik. A year ago, on March 11, 2018, Mr. Pawlik was shot 22 times with AR-15 rifles by four (4) OPD officers. His crime – he had a gun.
I have long come to know that if you have a gun and you encounter a policeman in Oakland you will die. Mr. Pawlik’s case is so very similar to that of Demouria Hogg. Both men were apparently asleep when awakened by OPD officers. Both men had guns in their possession and they were immediately shot and killed when they woke up. A gun is a death sentence.
Or, consider consider the case of Alan Blueford who was alleged to be found near a gun and shot dead. Or the case of Sahleem Tindle, who was also observed near a gun and shot dead.
If you are even near the gun, and there is an OPD or Bart officer present, you will die. If they think you have a gun, you will die.
Mr. Pawlik’s murder, however, disturbed Mr. Warshaw. Mr. Warshaw is the Court-appointed monitor, who for the last 10 years has been getting paid to monitor OPD under the Negotiated Settlement Agreement aka our Consent Decree. What seems to have disturbed Mr. Warshaw is that there is a video of the murder which OPD ignored. Apparently, the video is inconsistent with the officers’ statements.
According to to Mr. Warshaw, the OPD investigators did not
(a) did not use the video to question the officers;
(b) did not address the inconsistencies between the video and the officers’ statements; and
(c) used their questions to support the justification of the officers’ actions.
According to Mr. Warshaw, the video shows minimal movements by Mr. Pawlik, consistent with someone waking up. The video “does not show an overt threatening action on his part.”
Why Fire the Chief?
According to Mr. Warshaw, Chief Kirkpatrick went “above and beyond” in her efforts to discount the video evidence and exonerate the officers. Chief Kirkpatrick also rejected the disciplinary recommendations of the department’s internal Executive Force Review Board for the officers and the commander in charge of the situation, Sgt. Francisco Negrete. According to Chief Kirkpatrick, Sgt. Negrete’s “errors in judgment” were not significant enough to sustain the recommended discipline even though they likely cost Mr. Pawlik his life.
Chief Kirkpatrick came to Oakland in the midst of one of the worst police misconduct scandals in our history involving the murder of an officer’s wife, sex trafficking and the rape of a minor by police officers. So far, we have 3 lawsuits arising out of OPD’s cover-up of various parts of this criminal activity. Chief Kirkpatrick’s only response to our troubles was to promote the commanders who led the cover-ups and close the promotional ceremony to the public.
These are the men that she has come to rely upon and protect as the Chief.
Chief Kirkpatrick claimed that she came to Oakland as “a reformer.” But she admitted to reporters in her first press conference that she had not even read the Consent Decree and she had no plan for how to comply with it and end Court oversight. Apparently, she still has no plan. And it would appear that Mr. Warshaw has lost all confidence in her judgment.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Whether the Chief goes or stays, the City will pay. We will pay.
The City paid $1.2 million to settle the civil lawsuit for the murder of Demouria Hogg. Mr. Pawlik’s family has already filed suit, and no doubt, we will pay to settle that case. Federal Judge Orrick, upon receiving Mr. Warshaw’s report, appointed his own investigator to take another look at Mr. Pawlik’s murder. His Order directs the City to start paying for this investigation.
We will continue to pay for Mr. Warshaw’s services. Since his appointment in 2009, we have paid his two companies more than $8 million, on average almost $1 million a year. The Chief’s base salary is a whopping $270,000 a year. The four officers who fired 22 rifle shots at Mr. Pawlik are still on the payroll.
On March 6, 2019, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley issued her report simultaneously with OPD’s report, finding no problems with the investigation and exonerating the OPD officers. Nothing new there either.
I say, fire the Chief and let’s hold the monitor accountable for holding our police accountable. He seems to be the only one with any official power interested in doing so at the moment.