By Clark Gerhartsreiter, Contributing Writer
After nearly two decades, federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department (OPD) may come to an end, according to Robert Warshaw, the court appointed independent monitor.
Warshaw reported to federal judge William H. Orrick that the OPD was compliant in all but one of the 52 required tasks negotiated in the 2003 settlement agreement.
The settlement stemmed with Halvorsen to target Hispanic or Latino people to “clear” homicides, according to court records and various media reports. Up to 50 additional murder convictions could be overturned in the coming months due Guevara’s misconduct and manipulation of evidence.
The new report by the National Registry of Exonerations sheds light on similar corruption across the U.S. For example, the registry also reported that Sgt. Ronald Watts of the Chicago Police Department planted drugs on individuals who refused bribe payments. Additionally, 15 more exonerations in Illinois happened due to wrongful convictions for weapons possession, the annual report said.
Official misconduct accounted for 42% of exoneration cases in 2012. A decade later, official misconduct jumped in 2021 to 56%, according to The National Registry of Exonerations.
The increase in official misconduct cases is due partly to increased drug-possession arrests, mainly in Chicago. Most of the drug arrests also included perjury and false accusations, mostly by law enforcement officials framing innocent people.
The increase also comes from courts’ increasing awareness of other kinds of official misconduct like fraud, and the failures of prosecutors and law enforcement to divulge exculpatory evidence, The National Registry of Exonerations said.
Munoz is pushing forward to the day when his record and his name can be cleared. He is asking for justice for the years of freedom that he missed.
from a 2000 civil case, filed by more than 100 Black men against a group of OPD officers known as the “the Riders.” The suit alleged a pattern of beating, kidnapping, and planting evidence against Black men in the neighborhood by the officers, who did not face any disciplinary action, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Warshaw said that the OPD “has reached a significant milestone.” Attorneys on both sides filed a joint statement to enter a one-year “sustainability period” conditional on compliance with the remaining task, the LA Times said.
John Burris, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, told the LA Times that he felt “cautiously optimistic about entering into the sustainability period because it took so long to get to this point…With good checks and balances, we hope to maintain the changes, not just for the next year, but for the next generation.”
James Chanin, another attorney for the plaintiffs and a critic of the OPD, also felt “hopeful that the OPD will relieve themselves of this oversight.”
However, Chanin added, “If they don’t, we’ll be here to continue to review their conduct as we have done for the last 18 years.”