Ex-Oakland police chief sues city and mayor to get his job back

Feb 7, 2024, 2:10 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A former California police chief fired from his post last year has sued the city of Oakland and its mayor, saying he was unlawfully terminated in retaliation for criticizing the federal court-appointed monitor overseeing the department.

LeRonne Armstrong filed his lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday. He seeks reinstatement as police chief, the post Mayor Sheng Thao fired him from in February 2023 after a probe ordered by the oversight monitor found he mishandled two misconduct cases.

Oakland has been without a permanent police chief since, even as violent crime, robbery and vehicle theft climbed in the city of 400,000 across the bay from San Francisco. On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he will deploy 120 California Highway Patrol officers to Oakland to assist with targeted crackdowns on criminal activity, including vehicle and retail theft.

Preliminary data shows that crime rose in Oakland last year, despite falling in other California urban centers, Newsom’s office said. Last month, In-N-Out Burger announced it will close its first location in its 75-year history due to car break-ins, property damage, theft and robberies at its only restaurant in Oakland.

Oakland’s police department has been under federal oversight since 2003 after a rookie officer came forward to report abuse of power by a group of officers known as the Oakland “Riders.” The case resulted in the department being required to enact more than four dozen reform measures and report its progress to an outside monitor and a federal judge.

The mayor said in firing Armstrong last February that she had lost confidence in the police chief after he and the department failed to properly investigate and discipline a sergeant who was involved in a hit-and-run with his patrol car and who, in a separate incident, fired his service weapon inside an elevator at police headquarters.

In his complaint, Armstrong says the department had made great strides and was on track to regain its independence when the federal monitor said there were problems with police leadership and ordered the outside investigation into the sergeant. Armstrong says the monitor and his team “transformed routine instances of lower-level misconduct into a complete indictment” of the department and chief.

Armstrong said in his complaint that the mayor, who was newly elected at the time, was intimidated by the oversight monitor and buckled to pressure.

Thao’s office on Wednesday referred requests for comment to the city attorney’s office, which said in a statement that it had not been served with the complaint.

United States News

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

6 hours ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

6 hours ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

6 hours ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a ...

Associated Press

Russia convicts US journalist of spying in a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was convicted Friday of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum-security prison on charges that his employer and the U.S. government have rejected as fabricated.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Ex-Oakland police chief sues city and mayor to get his job back