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Oakland's first female police chief ousted by commission, mayor

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OAKLAND — The Oakland Police Commission voted unanimously Thursday to fire the city's first female police chief without cause.

Commission chair, Regina Jackson, said Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's ouster comes after “the Oakland Police Department’s failure to increase compliance with the court-ordered reforms” required under a federal settlement more than a decade ago.

The decision was supported by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who appointed Kirkpatrick in 2017.

"The Police Commission is the community’s voice in our system of checks and balances, and I respect its authority and its role," Schaaf said in a statement.

“In 2016, Oakland voters created the strongest and most independent Police Commission in America. Tonight, the commissioners exercised their power," she added.

Oakland Police Officers’ Association President Barry Donelan expressed disappointment over the firing and said Kirkpatrick was well-respected in the department.

“But fighting for Oakland’s residents and Police Officers alike does not endear you to Oakland’s unelected Police Commissioners and our Mayor,” he said.

The police force has been under federal court supervision since the 2003 settlement of a civil rights lawsuit that accused officers of planting evidence, beating suspects and other wrongdoing.

Kirkpatrick took over the troubled department in January 2017 amid allegations that a group of officers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were having sex with the teen daughter of an Oakland dispatcher.

During that time, allegations came to light that Oakland officers had exchanged racist text messages and emails.

Kirkpatrick also had been at odds with the department's federal monitor over the discipline she handed out to officers who shot and killed a homeless man in 2018.

Darren Allison, assistant chief of police, will serve as acting chief until an interim leader is appointed.

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