Oakland’s chief of police has become embroiled in a scandal over whether she lied about the nature of her department’s involvement in an ICE raid last summer.
The head of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission filed a complaint with the city’s Community Police Review Board against Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick last month. Now, an internal affairs investigation has been opened to see just what Kirkpatrick knew about the raid, and what she may have kept hidden from the public.
On August 16, Oakland police officers provided traffic control during an ICE raid on the home of a Guatemalan family. Both the agency and the police department claimed that the raid stemmed from a human trafficking investigation and was a criminal rather than an immigration-related offense. The OPD’s involvement in the raid was controversial at the time, given the city’s sanctuary status. The OPD claimed to have severed its departmental ties with ICE in mid-July.
However, since that August raid, no criminal trafficking charges have been brought. Instead, a civil immigration case has been opened against Santos de Leon, one of the men taken by ICE.
“The chief repeatedly supplied false information,” Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission Chair Brian Hofer declared during a commission meeting in early October, claiming that communications with city officials, press releases, and police briefings by Chief Kirkpatrick were littered with falsehoods about the purpose of the raid.
During a September town hall meeting, Kirkpatrick insisted that “only one person has been charged with a crime [stemming from the raid] and there is not a deportation matter in this case.”
However, according to the East Bay Express, an ICE official had filed paperwork to begin a civil deportation case against de Leon on the day of his detention, writing that there was “no evidence yet that [de Leon] was a perpetrator, conspirator or accomplice to the alleged crimes described on the search warrant/complaint.”
By filing his allegations with Oakland’s Community Police Review Board on Monday, Hofer’s complaint has kicked off an OPD internal affairs investigation into both the incident and Kirkpatrick’s behavior.
While Kirkpatrick has declined to address Hofer’s allegations in the past, she did make a statement in a recent report to the Oakland city council, claiming “OPD has fully complied with all City of Oakland resolutions concerning the status of Oakland as a sanctuary city.”
According to KPIX, Kirkpatrick is expected to speak about the claims against her directly at the next upcoming Public Safety Committee meeting.
I have reached out to the Oakland Police Department for comment and will update this post if I hear back.