Oakland police chief resigns amid seemingly limitless scandals for plagued department

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Oakland’s Acting Police Chief resigned on Friday night, the department’s third police chief to resign in nine days amid several scandals plaguing the department, including allegations that officers had inappropriate relationships with a sex worker when she was a minor.


Paul Figueroa had been appointed to the job on Wednesday. Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Figueroa’s resignation in a press conference Friday night.

Schaaf did not give the reason for Figueroa’s departure. The department will now report to the city’s civilian administrator, rather than a police chief.


“I'm here to run a police force, not a frat house,” Schaaf said at a news conference on Friday night about the scandals plaguing the department.

According to the East Bay Times, Figueroa resigned after accusations that several African-American police officers had sent racist text messages to each other and that a homicide detective let his girlfriend ghost-write his reports.

Sgt. Mike Ganntt came forward this week about the two-year-old racist text messages after learning he was under investigation himself, according to the East Bay Times. Gannt allegedly left evidence at his girlfriend’s house, who sources said did his investigative paperwork. The allegations could derail several high-profile cases.

Former police chief Sean Whent resigned on June 9th amid two scandals plaguing the department. An 18-year-old woman has alleged in the news media that she had sex with up to two dozen current and former officers as a sex worker. Three of those encounters happened when she was underage, she said.


Two officers have resigned and another three have been placed on paid leave in the sex worker scandal. Before Whent resigned, he said the police department has been conducting an internal review since last September, when Officer Brendan O'Brien killed himself. His girlfriend had allegedly killed herself a year earlier, Whent said. It’s unclear how the suicides are related to the sex worker scandal.

Whent resigned on June 9th. He was replaced by Ben Fairow, who last just six days on the job. He resigned on Wednesday after Schaaf said she received information that made her question his ability to do the job.


Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Chief Kenton Rainey said Fairow would be returning to that department, where he had been tapped to leave while assistant chief for the regional transit system. Rainey told the Associated Press that Fairow said he had an extramarital affair with a consenting adult more than a decade ago.

The Oakland Police Department is under federal oversight for the past 13 years after allegations of police misconduct that included planting evidence in the predominantly black neighborhood of West Oakland.


Schaaf has committed to reforming the police department. City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan told the San Francisco Chronicle she is pushing for reforms in recruitment and hiring.

“We have a department with almost no women, no LGBT people, and a dramatic underrepresentation of people of color,” Kaplan told the Chronicle.

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