#LibbyLeaks: Oakland Mayor Launches Investigation Against City and Police Whistleblowers 

Critic calls it a 'ridiculous waste of time and resources.'

click to enlarge Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
This week, the national spotlight is on Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and her embattled police department — and the headlines aren't favorable.

And now the Express has learned that Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth have opened an investigation to identify internal whistleblowers and leaks, according to multiple city and police sources, who asked not to be identified because they fear retaliation.

The investigation started after recent news reports exposed details regarding multiple police-misconduct cases, as well as efforts by city and police officials to keep the misconduct hidden from the public.

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan confirmed to the Express that she has heard there is a leak investigation. “I don’t know the details, but I think all allegations should be equally investigated.” Kaplan said. “I don’t have problem with leaks being investigated, but my question would be, 'Are all allegations being equally investigated?'”

Word of the leak investigation has already spread beyond the city of Oakland.

“I've learned that there is an effort to research leaks in the [police] department, which I think is a ridiculous waste of time and resources,” said John Burris, one of the civil rights attorneys who sued the city and put the Oakland police under federal court oversight in 2003.



“The overarching goal is to make sure that all complaints of police misconduct are thoroughly investigated. Our intention is to root out misconduct and prevent cover-ups, not to silence critics or whistleblowers,” city administrator Landreth said in a statement.

Landreth’s statement was released only after the Express contacted the city to ask about the leak investigation.

Administrator Landreth’s office also declined to disclose how much money the city is spending on the investigation.

Burris said that attorneys in his office haven't taken any extra precautions after learning about the leak investigation, because he says the internal city probe lacks subpoena power. “Tapping my phone would require a court order,” Burris said.

Jim Chanin, another attorney who has been involved in Oakland police-reform efforts, defended the press and criticized City Hall's whistleblower hunt. “The press is doing a real service, and investigating their sources is a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment, if not the letter. Doesn't the city have enough to do?" he said.

Sources told the Express that OPD internal affairs never investigated allegations that several officers committed statutory rape and trafficked sex worker Celeste Guap until after independent monitor Robert Warshaw’s office received a tip about the matter.

The attorneys said they have never heard of a leak investigation in local government during their decades of legal practice.

“I'm not surprised,” is how Councilmember Dan Kalb responded when the Express told him about the leaks investigation. “I don't have a problem with trying to find out how certain things, which may have been confidential, got out prematurely.” But Kalb added that he doesn't “believe the city should be criticizing reporters for doing what reporters do."

Attorney Dan Siegel, who ran against Schaaf for mayor in 2014, called any investigation of whistleblowers “Nixonesque.”

“I think it’s outrageous that, instead of trying to solve the problems in OPD, top city officials are engaging in a witch-hunt against the people who are making sure the public knows what’s going on,” he said.

Tags:

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in News

  • OPD Cop Caught Making Apparent False Statements After Injury Crash

    An Oakland police officer claimed he 'stopped fully' before smashing into a motorcyclist and even lectured the person he hurt. But a nearby surveillance camera contradicts his account.
    • Nov 7, 2018
  • Guns Versus Birds at the Point

    Environmentalists and Alameda residents are upset that the sheriff’s office held an Urban Shield military-like training exercise at a nature preserve and bird refuge.
    • Oct 31, 2018
  • Alameda Officials Help Mayor Hide Missing Cash

    Alameda's interim city manager and city attorney say emails among top officials discussing Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's refusal to pay back $100 must be kept secret.
    • Oct 31, 2018
  • More »

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

  • The East Bay's Tow Hustle

    Towing companies are taking cars illegally, and it's costing people. One of the worst offenders is PPI Towing of Oakland.
  • Towing for Dollars in Alameda

    Since 2013, more than 1,400 vehicles have been towed from one West End apartment complex by one company: PPI Towing.
  • The Problems With Bioplastics

    People mistakenly try to recycle them, thereby contaminating the waste stream. Plus, they're not really compostable.
  • Pro-Tenant and Pro-Housing

    East Bay voters made it clear that they favor candidates who advocate not only for more renter protections and more homeless services, but also, more housing.
  • OPD Cop Caught Making Apparent False Statements After Injury Crash

    An Oakland police officer claimed he 'stopped fully' before smashing into a motorcyclist and even lectured the person he hurt. But a nearby surveillance camera contradicts his account.

Special Reports

Fall Arts 2018

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

The Queer & Trans Issue 2018

Stories about creating safe spaces in the Queer and Trans community.

© 2018 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation