Oakland officer charged with felony obstructing justice

An Oakland police officer was charged Thursday with two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one misdemeanor count of engaging in an act of prostitution, Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy said.

Ryan Walterhouse, 26, who joined the Oakland Police Department in 2014 and worked as a patrol officer, was arrested when he reported to work at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward at 2 p.m. on Friday, authorities said.

He has posted bail and been released from custody, pending his court appearance on Friday.

Dunleavy said Walterhouse is accused of tipping off a prostitute about police crackdowns against prostitution activity in East Oakland on Oct. 13 and 14.

Oakland Deputy Police Chief John Lois said Walterhouse’s arrest is unrelated to a sexual misconduct scandal involving a teenage woman who allegedly had encounters with numerous officers from Oakland and many other local law enforcement agencies.

Joining Dunleavy and police officials at a news conference at police headquarters, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Walterhouse’s conduct is “completely outrageous” in light of the highly-publicized police misconduct scandal.

Schaaf said, “It is incredibly disturbing that any officer thinks it’s OK to engage in this type of activity.”

Lois said the department began investigating Walterhouse several weeks ago after another officer came forward to report that Walterhouse had been engaging in illegal activity.

He said the investigation confirmed that Walterhouse was involved in obstructing justice and prostitution-related activities both on- and off-duty.

“The reaction from every level of the department is one of anger and disappointment,” Lois said.

But he said Walterhouse’s alleged conduct “does not define our organization.”

Lois said there’s no reason to believe that any other officers were involved with Walterhouse’s misconduct.

City Administrator Sabrina Landreth said, “I applaud the police officer who came forward” and told his bosses about the misconduct.

Schaaf said, “I am very reassured that this misconduct came to light through the rank and file.”

Oakland police Officer Omega Crum wrote in a probable cause statement that Walterhouse befriended a known prostitute identified in court papers as Jane Doe six to eight months ago and engaged in acts of prostitution with her when he met her at a motel room in Castro Valley and paid her for her sexual services.

Crum said that on two occasions, Oct. 13 and 14, Walterhouse provided Doe with classified information about police anti-prostitution activities.

Crum said that on Oct. 13, Walterhouse called Doe and warned her, “You might want to call it an early night tonight” and “they may or may not be doing something right now.”

Waterhouse also advised her, “You might want to stick to the online thing right now” because police were “all over” certain parts of East Oakland, according to Crum.

On Oct. 14, Crum said, Waterhouse texted Doe and told her, “You out, don’t be right now” and told her, “I’ll let you know when to.”

Walterhouse’s actions “obstructed justice and potentially placed officers in harm’s way,” Crum wrote.

When investigators interviewed Walterhouse after he was arrested on Wednesday night he “confessed to providing Doe information about the covert prostitution operations to keep her from going to jail,” Crum said.

Sgt. Barry Donelan, the president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, said in a statement, “Words cannot express how disappointed the members of the association are in hearing the news of a police officer recently arrested for inappropriate conduct.”

Donelan said, “This officer’s actions have no place nor are they condoned in any way by the police officers who work diligently to keep our Oakland community safe.”

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