Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announced Wednesday that former San Jose Deputy Police Chief Thomas Frazier will lead an independent investigation into the tactics that police used in dealing with Occupy Oakland protests in
October and November.
Quan said, “I've been waiting for this for quite a while” and promised that the investigation will be “a public and transparent process.”
Many protesters and community members have criticized the use of force by officers from Oakland and other law enforcement agencies in responding to Occupy Oakland demonstrations.
Referring to the demonstrations, Quan said, “For the most part, police acted professionally and the protesters demonstrated peacefully, but there were exceptions on both sides.”
She said, “We wanted to have an outside look at what happened. We need to have a balance between maintaining the civil rights of our citizens and having effective policing.”
Joining Quan at a news conference at City Hall, City Administrator Deanna Santana said hiring a team to conduct an independent investigation “demonstrates that we have nothing to hide and we're eager to learn.”
Santana said the investigators' report will show “when we do things right, if there are things we could do better and if we need to take corrective action.”
Police Chief Howard Jordan said, “If the report reveals any wrongdoing, I'm committed to taking swift action.”
Jordan said the department takes the use of force “very seriously” and that his department reviews all incidents in which officers use force.
Santana said that among the items that the investigation will review are compliance with the Oakland Police Department's rules, tactics, operation planning and the handling of the protesters who were arrested.
She said the investigation will cost about $100,000.
Frazier said he anticipates that the investigation will take about 90 days or possibly a little bit longer.
He said that one of the things his team will investigate is whether officers from outside agencies who came to Oakland to provide mutual aid were bound by Oakland's rules governing police procedures, which include a ban on the use of rubber bullets and other projectiles.
“We will look at whether outside officers were allowed to operate under the policies in their cities or were governed by Oakland's policies,” Frazier said.
He said, “I don't know the answer yet.”
Frazier worked for the San Jose Police Department from 1967 to 1994, eventually becoming deputy chief. He briefly interrupted his stint in San Jose to serve as a military intelligence officer in Vietnam.
Frazier then served as the Baltimore Police Commissioner from 1994 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2010 served as executive director of the Major Police Chiefs Association, which represents the chiefs of the 63 largest police agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
Frazier will be assisted in the investigation by retired San Jose Deputy Police Chief Donald Anders, retired Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Michael Hillmann and retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Richard Cashdollar.
Frazier said, “We have a terrific team. These are all no-nonsense guys.”
Asked why the team only includes former police officials, Frazier said he may add a civil rights attorney to help the team review mutual aid rules, which he said are “very complicated.”