By Post Staff
Supporters of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao held a rally this week, praising the mayor for firing OPD Chief LeRonne Armstrong and for demonstrating her firm commitment to implement constitutional policing in Oakland that protects all of its residents.
Thao has faced protests by the former chief’s backers when he was placed on administrative leave with pay and then fired several weeks ago after investigators found he had failed to hold an officer accountable for misconduct.
After being placed on administrative leave with pay, Armstrong had spoken at rallies denouncing the federal court-appointed overseer and said that he made no mistakes in his handling of a police misconduct case.
Speakers at the rally on Tuesday, which included Oakland’s Chinatown community and the Oakland Progressive Alliance, said the firing was necessary if Oakland hopes to end 20 years of federal oversight of its police department.
“We stand with the actions that will continue to move the city out of the long shadow of federal oversight, scandal, coverups and into an era of accountability and transparency between the community and the Police Department,” said Saabir Lockett of East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, quoted by NBC Bay Area.
Speakers at Tuesday’s rally did not offer specific reasons why they felt the chief needed to be dismissed, but said they believe the mayor’s actions pave a path to accountability for the entire Police Department.
“Our community needs changes, they need reform,” said Kenneth Tang with APEN Action Oakland, quoted by NBC. “They want to see improvement in their communities and accountability is the first step to ensure public servants are being accountable.”
Walter Riley, an Oakland civil rights attorney, said the opposition to the mayor was fueled by people who were upset that she had won the election and hoped to reverse or hobble recent progressive election victories in Oakland and Alameda County.
“The people who lost in the mayoral campaign do not like the fact that we have Sheng Thao in office, do not like that we have a core of progressive City Councilmembers in office,” said Riley, an Oakland lawyer and civil rights activist.
Among other speakers at the rally were Stewart Chen, president of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council; Barry Szeto, CEO of the Pacific Renaissance Plaza Residential Association; Pamela Drake, Wellstone Democratic Club; Liz Suk, executive director, Oakland Rising Action; and Elaine Peng, president, Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities.
Armstrong appealed his firing last week, saying it was a wrongful and retaliatory termination that should be overturned.
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