VIDEO: Activists call for divestment from corrupt Oakland police department


OAKLAND (KRON) — Protesters returned to Oakland police headquarters on Tuesday with a list of demands for change.

Demonstrators said it is needed because of the embarrassment and upheaval related to the Oakland police sex scandal, first broken by KRON4.

Oakland police headquarters was the backdrop, but the proestors were calling for change at City Hall.

A coalition of community activists in Oakland called for the city to divest from a corrupt Police Department and invest in services for people like sex workers amid an investigation into whether multiple officers exploited an underage daughter of a police dispatcher.

The expansive investigation has ballooned to several Bay Area law enforcement agencies, reportedly centered around a single victim who worked as an underage sex worker. But Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project alleged that there are likely more sex workers who have been exploited by local police officers.

“There are more Celeste Guaps on the streets of Oakland,” Brooks said, referring to an alias of the teen at the center of the scandal. Two Oakland police officers have resigned, three more are on leave, and police Chief Sean Whent abruptly resigned as the allegations grew.

The group of activists, which included representatives of Causa Justa and Black Lives Matter, spoke outside of Oakland police headquarters Tuesday and also called for Mayor Libby Schaaf to step down, accusing her of standing by law enforcement until the issues with the department became overwhelming.

The Rev. Michael McBride of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley questioned why Schaaf, who has now publicly accused Oakland police of having a “disgusting culture,” spent last year touting the reforms of the department as the scandals bubbled under the surface and five people were killed by Oakland police officers.

“Now you show up and say you’re not running a frat house,” McBride said. “You’re not running a frat house, you’re running a house of horrors.”

The full extent of the scandals can’t be known because of state law. Internal affairs investigations remain secret, regardless of the outcome, according to the state’s Peace Officers Bill of Rights, and city officials are prohibited from naming the officers involved.

“It prevents us from knowing who the predators are on our streets,” Brooks said.

The activists are also calling for an outside investigation into the allegations against Oakland police and for new civilian oversight over the department, pointing out that after three police chiefs departed in a week and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth took direct control, there is apparently not one person in the department who the mayor trusts to take over.

Pointing out that the Police Department consumes nearly half of the city’s general fund, they called on the city to recognize that the department, already under federal scrutiny for over a decade, appears unable to effectively perform.

The City Council is currently considering a ballot measure to create a charter amendment to bring new civilian oversight over the department.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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