“Is reform possible?”: Investigating Oakland’s dysfunctional police department
January 26, 2023 · 84 min
Journalists Ali Winston and Darwin Bondgraham have been investigating the Oakland Police Department for more than a decade. Their coverage of violent misconduct, corruption, and sexual abuse has led to multiple resignations and terminations within the department, but even more shocking is the relative lack of consequences for many of the officers responsible for this illegal behavior. Winston and Bondgraham’s new book “The Riders Come Out at Night: Brutality, Corruption, and Cover Up in Oakland” proves that this pattern of impunity has characterized the department since its very inception.
“The Riders Come Out at Night” compiles more than a century of OPD scandals in order to understand why the department has been unable to reform itself according to the demands of a court-ordered consent decree, despite two decades of federal oversight. History repeats itself in scandal after scandal as a toxic stew of racism, machismo, resentment, carelessness and lethal violence is brushed aside or even rewarded, while taxpayers cover the costs and victims’ families are left devastated. For Oaklanders desperately yearning for safer streets, this book paints a sad and frustrating picture about the relationship between law enforcement and public safety.
On January 21, I recorded an interview with Winston and Bondgraham in front of a live audience at Clio’s Books in Oakland. We discussed the history of the Oakland Police Department, the current scandal that has resulted in Chief LeRonne Armstrong being placed on administrative leave, and much more. For more info, visit: https://eastbayyesterday.com/episodes/is-reform-possible/
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