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Buhari Marks Last Independence Day As President

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In his last Independence Day speech, President Muhammadu Buhari gave himself a pass mark in his seven years in office so far.

This is just as the president said he is pained by the 7 months old strike by the Academic Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU).

In his Independence Day broadcast this morning to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence, President Buhari listed the successes recorded by his administration in tackling insecurity and economy.

Buhari also thanked Nigerians who believed in him, propelled and stood by him in his quest to bequeath a country where all citizens have equal opportunities to achieve their lives desires in a peaceful atmosphere.

According to him, “when you elected me, I readily acknowledged that the tasks before me were daunting but surmountable because of the growing national consensus that our chosen route to national development was democracy.

“This democracy was to be anchored on a clear understanding, application and the principles of separation of powers supported by a reformed public service that is more effective.

“I then pledged to Improve the Economy, Tackle Corruption and Fight Insecurity and this was further strengthened by my commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years as the central plank of my second term in 2019.

“To the Glory of God and His Grace as well as the commitment and passion displayed by many Nigerian supporters, we have made appreciable progress in these areas but not yet at our destination.

“Mindful of the task before us, we took some time in settling down and we re-positioned the Economy by providing strategic interventions in core areas at both the Federal and Sub-National levels.

“One of the areas where we have made significant progress is in the eradication of deeply entrenched corruption that permeates all facets of our national development.

“We strengthened the Institutions for tackling corruption and also cultivated international support, which aided the repatriation of huge sums of money illegally kept outside the country.

“The increasing number of prosecutions and convictions, with associated refunds of large sums of money is still ongoing. Furthermore, we would continue to block opportunities that encourage corrupt practices.

President Buhari also called on lecturers to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available.

He said “I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system.

“I am using this Independence Day celebration to re-iterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available.

“This administration has made appreciable progress in redressing these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years.

“The Federal Government will continue to mobilize resources both internationally and nationally towards funding education to ensure that our citizens are well educated and skilled in various vocations in view of the fact that education is a leading determinant of economic growth and employment generation.

Buhari further stated that no matter what gains the country makes, without a good governance system anchored on electing credible leaders on the basis of free, fair, credible and transparent elections, our efforts would not be enough.

He explained, “It is for this reason that I have resolved to bequeath a sustainable democratic culture which will remain lasting. The signing of the Electoral Act 2021 as amended with landmark provisions further assures us of a more transparent and inclusive Electoral Process.

“Having witnessed at close quarters, the pains, anguish and disappointment of being a victim of an unfair electoral process, the pursuit of an electoral system and processes that guarantee election of leaders by citizens remains the guiding light as I prepare to wind down our administration.

“You would all agree that the recent elections in the past two years in some states (notably Anambra, Ekiti and Osun) and a few federal constituencies have shown a high degree of credibility, transparency and freedom of choice with the people’s votes actually counting. This I promise would be improved upon as we move towards the 2023 General Elections.

As Nigerians begin the transition process to another democratically elected government, President Buhari implored all aspirants to conduct issues-based campaigns devoid of hate speeches as well as other negative and divisive tendencies.

“I also want to express my wish that we see more female and youth participation in the forth-coming electoral cycle. I am sure that our teeming and energetic youths now realise that violence generally mar elections and so should desist from being used by politicians for this purpose,” he said.

Buhari said that in the past few years the country has witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our Nation.

He, however, said the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people has ensured that we overcome our challenges.

“It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues.

“I was called to serve, along with my team, I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians. Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams,” he added .

 

IBB, Governors, Atiku, Tinubu, Others Count Gains

As Nigeria marks its 62nd independence anniversary today, political leaders in the country have maintained the country has achieved some remarkable milestones, the economic and security challenges notwithstanding.

This is even as former Nigerian leaders, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), called on Nigerians to reflect on the sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers to work for peace and unity of the country as they celebrate this year’s independence anniversary.

Babangida specifically urged younger Nigerians to look for knowledge about the country for a well-informed perspective on the past to be able to appreciate the roles played by the founding fathers of the nation.

“Younger generation must read more about the country to find out what happened in the past and how we came about as a country, what happened, what roles various people played and came together. That is where one of you was talking about history. Once you know the history of the country very well and the efforts of our founding fathers, then you have a roadmap you have to follow,” he said.

He said notwithstanding the challenges, Nigeria remains one united country, urging the people to be optimistic and confident, even as he prayed for a more prosperous country.

Also speaking on the country’s independence, Abdulsalami Abubakar said; “I want to wish Nigerians happy 62nd anniversary and I pray that we have peaceful campaigns in the election, it would help the nation that the contestants if they feel the election is free fair would accept the result and concede defeat. I wish us peace, may God continue to bless Nigeria, protect us and help us in nation building.”

Niger State governor and chairman of North Central States Governors Forum (NCSGF), Abubakar Sani Bello, called on Nigerians to continue to support the present administration in bringing positive change for the collective good of the people.

The governor, who said the government’s resolve for a peaceful and united Nigeria is unwavering, appealed to Nigerians to maintain a positive outlook and encourage the present leadership in the country to bring about the much-needed transformation and development.

Bello said with the kick-off of the electioneering campaigns ahead of the 2023 general election, Nigerians must remain focused and patriotic in contributing to the sustenance of the country’s democracy.

He expressed optimism that at 62 and despite the glaring challenges, Nigeria still maintains the unending potential to become a great nation and that with the collective determination of the people, Nigeria would surely become a prosperous country.

Also, Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, said in spite of all the challenges confronting Nigeria, there is so much to celebrate, including the fact that Nigerians are still together as an entity and are hopeful that the lofty height of greatness is still within the country’s reach to accomplish”.

In a message to mark the 62nd Independence of Nigeria and the 26th anniversary of the creation of Gombe State, Governor Inuwa urged the citizenry not to despair, but to keep hope alive in the quest to build a prosperous state and nation “as envisioned by our founding fathers”.

In the message released by director-general, Press Affairs, Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, the governor said though Nigeria is passing through tough times occasioned by insecurity, the socio-economic effect of the war in Ukraine among others, the challenges confronting the nation are not insurmountable.

He urged the people of Gombe and Nigerians in general to rekindle their hopes and renew their commitment and love for the country.

While calling on the people to see the greatness and prospects of Gombe state and the country as a motivating factor, the governor urged said, “As the country celebrates its 62nd independence anniversary, all hands must be on deck to foster unity, peace, security and understanding regardless of our differences.

“In spite of all the challenges facing the country right now, there is so much to celebrate, particularly the fact that we are still together as an entity and hopeful that the lofty height of greatness we covet is still within our reach to accomplish”.

Underscoring the importance attached to the twin celebration, Governor Inuwa said, “For us in Gombe State, it is a double celebration: we are marking the 62nd independence as a nation and the 26th year anniversary of the creation of our drear state”.

He reassured that under his leadership, Gombe state will continue to wax stronger in all facets of human endeavours, vowing to keep initiating people-oriented policies and programmes that will better the lots of the people and the state.

On their part, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; his All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party counterparts, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Peter Obi, said with a common dream, Nigeria’s challenges will be surmounted.

He stated this while congratulating Nigerians on the celebration of its 62nd Independence Day anniversary assuring that the nation will rise again.

The former vice president in a statement by his media office in Abuja said the celebration of Nigeria’s Independence Day is an event that should reawaken our consciousness towards the consolidation of unity amongst the diverse people of the country.

The PDP presidential candidate said Nigeria had come a long way after independence 62 years ago passing through different phases of challenges, noting however, that “the democracy that we have is the requisite antidote to the current challenges that we face.”

The Wazirin Adamawa noted: “Though Nigeria is beset with challenges that range from inadequacies of our economic plans to cover a large percentage of our people who live below the poverty line; to security skirmishes that daily threaten the safety of lives and property of Nigerians, the root cause of these problem is traceable to the increasing lack of unity amongst us.”

He, however, assured: “One people and under the canopy of one country sharing in one future, we will surmount our challenges and enthrone the Nigeria of our dreams. And as we go into the general elections next year, Atiku Abubakar urged all Nigerians to give the issue of building national unity primary attention.”

On his part, Tinubu said the path Nigerians have walked has not always been an easy or smooth one, adding however that even though it is a road hewn by their own hands, ingenuity and aspirations, they have been able to brave the storm.

Downplaying political events in the country, he said he would not speak about politics but patriotism, adding that the time for politics will come soon enough.

He thanked President Buhari for their patriotic efforts in the service of the nation.

He urged Nigerians to commit themselves to Nigeria’s unity as well as their collective improvement.

“In unity, we must see each other as brothers and sisters regardless of our ethnic, religious or regional diversity. In seeking national improvement, we must join hands in growing the economy, creating jobs, feeding the hungry, educating our youth, caring for the sick and protecting our people and their way of life from evil and misguided foes who seek to destroy all that is good,” he noted.

Stressing the significance of the independence anniversary, the APC standard bearer said, “In this complex time, it is easy to forget the struggles of those who came before us – those Nigerian founders and nationalists who devoted themselves to making the dream of an independent and proud Nigeria a reality.

“But we must not forget. We commemorate this day so that our nation shall forever hold in remembrance those who won our nation’s independence. There is no way we can repay them for their patriotism except to remember them and strive to match their love of country and their sacrifice for it.  Some gave not only their best years but their very lives so that Nigeria can be born. Their labour shall never be in vain!

“Indeed, we have come a long way from 1960 when we gained independence. We have walked far since then. Still, the best of our national journey lies before and not behind us. Since 1999, our country has experienced 23 years of uninterrupted democracy.”

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party said many Nigerians are already tired and frustrated with the leadership failure that has continued to burden the country for many years.

According to him, the coming election presents a ray of hope to the people for a New Nigeria, if things are done correctly.

In his Independence Day Message to Nigerians, Obi expressed regret that at 62, Nigeria has nothing to celebrate, adding that rather, it continues to struggle under the weight of corruption, bad governance, insecurity, worsening economy, abuse of office and all manner of ills.

He lamented that each new day in Nigeria, instead of heralding progress and development, the people, already weakened by poverty and hardship, are further burdened by new forms of societal malady.

“After 62 years of independence, we are still experiencing constant collapse of our national grid, as many as seven times in a single year; our universities have been shut for eight months; our inflation rate is at an all-time high, as more than half of the population are battling extreme poverty; insecurity and violence are occurring at an alarming rate; oil theft is carried on with impunity and in all fronts – the nation bleeds,” Obi said.

He noted that any further slip into retrogression would make the nation uninhabitable for the people, even as he said many Nigerians are looking forward to the 2023 elections because it presents them an opportunity to put an end to the leadership failures of the past and usher in a new and productive Nigeria.

Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachukwu, said the 62nd anniversary calls for the remembrance of the fallen heroes and those who are in the field defending the nation.

Kachikwu who said he will never gather a paid crowd said, “For over a decade our nation has been at war and more often than not we forget the heroic sacrifices made daily by our men and women in uniform.

“They wage war so that we may have peace. Our troops have defended other nations, maintained the peace in far flung lands and today have the task of defending our land.

“The second group are the Nigerian masses who are suffering in silence. They stay silent so that we may have peace. They suffer untold hardships as our economy gets worse, as job opportunities disappear, as our security situation worsens and as food prices escalate.”

Also, former president of the Senate, David Mark, urged Nigerians to leverage on the 2023 general elections to elect credible leaders that would get the country out of the woods.

Mark in a goodwill message to Nigerians to commemorate the 62 years of independence noted the myriads of socio-economic and political challenges facing the nation but expressed optimism that “the problems are surmountable if we work together”.

For him, the 2023 elections presents another opportunity to take stock of the journey so far with a view to righting the wrongs of the past through the ballot boxes”.

He urged all Nigerians of voting age to participate in the electoral process believing that with the improved electioneering arrangement, votes will count and results reflect the wishes of the people.

Former governor of Enugu State and Senator representing Enugu East in the Senate, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, said inclusiveness, Justice, equity and fairness are the needed ingredients for peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.

Nnamani, in a goodwill message to Nigerians to mark the nation’s 62nd Independence anniversary, urged leaders at all levels to make the citizens the centre of all their programmes and policies.

He said peace and unity is the product of justice, fairness and equity.

As campaigns for the 2023 general elections gathers momentum, he urged public office seekers to put the unity and peace of Nigeria above personal ambitions.

Former Senate president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said the future looks very bright for the country despite the present situation.

Saraki in a statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, called on Nigerians to use the anniversary to reflect on the past achievements of the country, particularly the contributions of the founding fathers towards achieving independence and building a united country.

He added that like a part of the national anthem stated, the present generation of Nigeria should ensure that the labour of the past heroes is not in vain as everybody should work to realise the lofty heights the founding fathers envisaged for the country.

“Nigeria remains a country which possesses all the necessary factors for achieving greatness. What is important is for the present generation, both the leaders and the followers, to work for the unity of the country and place the country first before their interests.

“We have all we need for our country to be a global leader and to adequately provide for the welfare of the citizenry. However, we need everybody to be determined to work towards the realization of the nation’s manifest destiny as envisaged by our founding fathers and even the rest of the world,” he stated.

The PDP congratulated Nigerians, urging them not to lose hope in the country as the misrule of the vicious, corrupt and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC) would soon come to an end.

The party however regretted that Nigerians are celebrating yet another independence anniversary under palpable bondage and harrowing stranglehold of the suppressive, coldhearted, insensitive and inhumane APC which relishes in inflicting pain and anguish on the citizens.

It said, “In the last seven years the APC has foisted and supervised a reign of terror and subjected Nigerians to the worst form of suppression that have turned a once cheerful and prosperous nation into the poverty capital and the third worst governed country of the world.

“In the last seven years, the APC has balkanized and dislocated the unity of our country, promoted mutual distrust among the once happy and harmonious people; created a mass of internally displaced persons; the worst since the Civil War in our country.

“Since 2015, when the corrupt and treasury-looting APC, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) fraudulently crept into our nation’s political landscape, Nigerians have witnessed life-discounting experiences with hyper-inflation, escalated unemployment, collapse of the nation’s currency and economic meltdown arising from poor and uncoordinated fiscal and economic policies of the APC administration.”

IGP Deploys Officers, Assures Of Security

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has directed the deployment of adequate personnel to provide protection for citizens, critical national infrastructures and ensure the success of all activities lined up for the country’s 62nd independence anniversary scheduled for today.

Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the deployment is to prevent any untoward situation throughout the period of the celebration and beyond all over the country.

He said the IGP also directed strategic police managers comprising assistant inspectors general of police and commissioners of police in all the zonal and state commands and the FCT to ensure high visibility and confidence boosting patrols around the venues of the celebrations, residential areas and other public places to prevent infiltration by hostile elements and ensure a peaceful celebration.

Baba enjoined citizens to cooperate unflinchingly with officers of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, for improved security management at various public gatherings during the Independence celebration.

He urged all citizens to imbibe the spirit of tolerance amongst each other which is vital in a multi-cultural society like Nigeria.


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– Mexico News Daily

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Friday, November 25, 2022




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10 times a doorbell camera either saved the day or kept us awake at night

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SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND - AUGUST 28: A doorbell device with a built-in camera made by home security company Ring is seen on August 28, 2019 in Silver Spring, Maryland. These devices allow users to see video footage of who is at their front door when the bell is pressed or when motion activates the camera. According to reports, Ring has made video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to camera footage with the homeowners’ permission in what the company calls the nation’s 'new neighborhood watch.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ring Doorbell CameraChip Somodevilla / Getty Images

  • Doorbell cameras are becoming an increasingly popular form of surveillance.

  • The cameras have either helped stop criminals in the act or caught terrifying scenes on video.

  • Camera owners have shared their unbelievable footage to social media.

HORROR: Two hooded individuals attempt to gain access to a stranger’s home while reportedly holding a gun.

2 hooded men standing outside of a door

The California couple told local news they were terrified, but as they hid their child in a closet, the two men simply turned and walked away.thislife85/TikTok

HORROR: A random visitor caught standing outside of an Arizona family’s door at 3 a.m. after approaching the mother of the house in a park three days earlier.

Ring doorbell footage of a man standing outside of a door

The user who posted the video made light of the strange incident, but also added the man had approached her in the park just days before. Ultimately, she decided not to call the police, according to a follow-up video.katelyndcurtis/TikTok

HORROR: A stranger looking into the camera and begging to be let inside the home at 5 a.m.

Blurred face of man looking into ring camera

Although a stranger yelling into your doorbell camera is quite scary, commenters pointed out that the slurred speech and mannerisms of the man could indicate a mental health episode.Samantha Rose/TikTok

HORROR: An LA woman walks into her home to discover her stalker waiting for her inside.

ring doorbell footage of woman entering her home

Although it’s unclear if the off-camera suspect was ever apprehended, the woman who posted the video was able to safely exit the apartment before she was hurt.crys_journey/TikTok

HORROR: A child reports hearing voices coming from the camera set up in his room. Parents believe the device was breached by hackers.

Screengrabs of Ring camera footage

This series started with a young boy telling his parents that the Ring camera in his room would speak to him. Not long after his claim, the parents caught the reported hacker speaking to their son and removed the camera.Fran Chelle/TikTok

In September, a representative from Ring provided Yahoo with the following statement:

“We take customer privacy and security extremely seriously. We worked directly with this customer in February to investigate this matter and found no indication of unauthorized access or suspicious activity related to her Ring account or devices.”

HERO: An Arkansas woman says her husband was able to protect their escaped dog by speaking to him through his Ring doorbell.

Ring doorbell footage of dog siting on a porch

The dog had somehow ended up outside while no one was home. Thanks to a motion alert on their doorbell, the man was able to soothe the dog until someone came home to let him back inside.therealchristinamunoz/TikTok

HERO: Halloween candy thief gets caught thanks to footage from several doorbell cameras.

woman and child stealing halloween candy

A Los Angeles woman and a young boy dressed as Spider-Man went from house to house cleaning out bowls of candy set out for trick-or-treaters.losangelesring/TikTok

HERO: Ring doorbell detects a fire at a neighbor’s home and alerts the camera owner as flames approach his house.

Ring doorbell footage of a fire

Once the owner received the alerts from Ring, he can be seen in the footage trying to extinguishing the blaze and calling out to his neighbors.tomspank5/TikTok

HERO: The voice feature of the Ring doorbell scares away a potential thief.

Blurred face of man standing in front of ring camera

The unidentified man was attempting to steal the Ring doorbell itself, but an automated voice feature alerted him that the owners were home and watching him. He quickly fled the scene without the doorbell.DarkCrimeTV/TikTok

HERO: A good Samaritan returns a lost wallet to its owner.

Blurred faced man holding up a wallet to doorbell camera

The unnamed man drove all the way to the address he found on the ID in the lost wallet, but his kind act came with a price. In the video, he lets the owner know he’d be keeping $20 for gas money.thefirst_eros/TikTok

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Oakland police is on probation and a step closer to shedding federal oversight : NPR

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LeRonne L. Armstrong, Chief of Police, Oakland Police Department, stands near Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, right, as he delivers remarks during a press conference in Oakland, Calif.

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LeRonne L. Armstrong, Chief of Police, Oakland Police Department, stands near Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, right, as he delivers remarks during a press conference in Oakland, Calif.

Yalonda M. James/AP

A federal judge late Thursday ruled that the troubled Oakland Police Department (OPD) in California can take a big step toward ending nearly two decades of federal oversight created in the wake of a police corruption scandal in 2000.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick ruled that Oakland can now enter a one-year probationary period after meeting dozens of reform measures required in a consent decree that followed lawsuits related to abuses by members of a West Oakland police anti-gang unit who called themselves “The Riders.”

Scores of victims in 2000 alleged the Riders routinely planted drugs on suspects and occasionally dished out beatings alongside falsified police reports, unlawful arrests and obstruction of justice. A rookie officer blew the whistle; 119 Oakland victims filed suit.

For nearly two decades a court-appointed monitor has overseen whether the OPD is meeting more than 50 reform mandated actions. The monitors reports are then reviewed by a judge.

While acknowledging there’s much work still to do, the city’s mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong welcomed the end of federal oversight as a sign of real progress.

“I committed to the city of Oakland that I was going to do everything I could to get this department into full compliance with all 51 tasks and that we wouldn’t see regression under my leadership,” the chief told NPR. “I believe that we’ve gotten there because we’ve worked even harder,” he said, calling the news “a testament to the high level of accountability” now in place in Oakland.

But critics say OPD’s progress is fragile. And they think the fact that basic reforms took 20 years as scandalous in itself.

“It’s shameful. It’s shameful that it has taken this long,” says Rashidah Grinage with the Oakland Coalition for Police Accountability. “It only underscores the level of resistance to making these changes.”

And those changes resulted from hard-fought and arduous pressure from lawyers and activists. “I would say [in] the first nine years there was zero progress,” says lawyer Jim Chanin who along with fellow civil rights attorney John Burris were the lead attorneys who pursued the Riders case. “And then the last 10 they’ve come up to the point where they are now on the cusp of compliance.”

Now with Oakland entering a yearlong probationary, or “sustainability,” period to fully remove federal monitoring, police watch groups are worried the department will backslide.

“It scares me,” says Cat Brooks the co-founder and executive director of the Oakland-based Anti-Police Terror Project. “It scares me that we’re going to learn that they weren’t ready when the federal oversight is done and they revert to the police department they have been.”

The effectiveness of consent decrees is still up for debate

Across the country, federal consent decrees like the Oakland agreement remain a key oversight tool, despite limited evidence they’re actually effective and useful. Critics say they’re costly, often open-ended and end up benefiting court-appointed consultants and have little lasting impact.

There was optimism when Oakland’s oversight first launched. Attorneys Chanin and Burris made it clear they wanted more than a settlement and money for their clients. Burris says they saw the rogue cop scandal as an opportunity to try to change an entrenched police culture of impunity in Oakland.

“For me, it was an opportunity to really put in place reforms that would affect people for a generation or more,” Burris tells NPR.

At the start, he says, they wanted to “figure out where it was that these problems originated from … We were interested in the force questions. What kind of force is being used? How is it being recorded? What kind of investigations were taking place in the internal affairs. And that was a big deal.”

The police department has slowly checked off the federally-mandated reforms. The OPD improved its use of force policies and practices, worked to reduce racial profiling in traffic stops – and more. Today, among the 40 largest police departments in America, Oakland has among the lowest incidents of officer involved shootings – fatal and non-fatal. Allegations and payouts for brutality and excessive force are down dramatically.

“Unfortunately, it has taken 20 plus years to get it done and at a great deal of cost to everyone,” Burris says.

Many still question whether the department’s culture has changed

And what progress has been made is seen as highly precarious. The city has gone through 11 police chiefs in just over 20 years. Last year homicides here soared yet again and the mayor called for reversing planned cuts to the police.

Today, Oakland officers are leaving the department in record numbers, creating a staffing crisis. Debate rages over how to reduce gun violence, homicides and robberies. Four people have been murdered in a short period in one part of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, a very popular gathering spot for families, runners and dog walkers.

“These senseless acts of violence of homicide will not be tolerated. We all deserve safe neighborhoods,” says Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, who represents the area.

And there have been half a dozen new scandals since the Riders case, including in 2016 when multiple OPD officers were criminally charged for sexually abusing an underage girl and continued to exploit her after she turned 18. The city settled for nearly $1 million and officers were fired. An independent report ruled the department failed to adequately investigate those sex crimes – a violation of federal Task No. 5.

It’s always been lawyers, journalists or victims who’ve exposed corruption and abuse within the OPD. And lawyer Chanin is worried that when federal monitors pack up, the department could easily regress.

“We’ve gone 20 years. They’ve got a perfect record of never discovering and remedying a single scandal on their own. So, I’m concerned about that. That’s bad. It is worrisome,” Chanin says.

Grinage, with the Coalition for Police Accountability, is worried, too. But she says the creation of the city’s independent, civilian-run Police Commission just a few years ago is one key safeguard to protect against relapse since the Riders scandal. The commission has some investigative and oversight powers.

“Trust but verify, right,” Grinage says. “We have a police commission that will verify that they are in compliance and will take the necessary steps to make sure that if they fall out of compliance, that there are repercussions.”

Repercussions like when the commission fired police chief Anne Kirkpatrick in 2020. The former chief is now fighting her dismissal in court.

Police chief acknowledges that “Oakland is a challenging city”

“Oakland is a challenging city,” chief Armstrong acknowledges. He’s been police chief here for just over 15 months. “I think those 15 months where we haven’t had a scandal or any issues come out of the department that would cause anybody to be concerned about our ability to remain in compliance [with the consent decree] and practice constitutional policing is the beginning of us building a new history,” he says.

Activists who pushed for greater racial justice after George Floyd’s murder at the knee of a Minneapolis policeman say any progress in Oakland was not the work of federal monitors or lawyers.

“It was the work of the people in the streets that forced OPD to shift,” says activist Cat Brooks. She’s not convinced OPD has changed much at all. Its culture of violence and recklessness, she alleges, runs too deep.

“If you go to East Oakland, they are still profiled and they are still harassed and tormented by OPD. So, right on, I’m glad they ticked off all the boxes. But they are not a police department that this community trusts or should trust,” Brooks says.

After two decades, the last of the 51 reforms was improving racial disparities in disciplinary policy as more Black officers were facing discipline than their white counterparts.

For years Oakland had no policy to collect and break down basic discipline data based on race. “We now have a system in place where we can collect that data or we can track that data on an ongoing basis,” chief Armstrong says. “And so what we’ll be doing is continuous analysis. Looking at that data, trying to better understand if we see disparities, what are driving those disparities” and change policies as needed he says.

Attorney John Burris is cautiously optimistic the reforms will stick. “I’m hopeful that what we put in place will last beyond one year [of probation], that it will last a generation,” he says, “otherwise to me it would not be worth it.”

In the end, the city paid out some $11 million to 119 people to settle the class-action Riders corruption and brutality case. None of the four officers in the Riders scandal was convicted. One was acquitted of all charges. Two had hung juries. The DA later dropped the charges. They all left the department. Two went into private security. One became a cop in Southern California.

And the alleged ring-leader of the Riders gang, former officer Frank Vazquez? He skipped bail and fled the country on the eve of his trial. To this day former officer Vazquez remains a fugitive, his case open with the FBI.

Read the judge’s order ruling that Oakland can enter a one-year “sustainability” period on June 1:


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