Troubled by Police Mishandling of Sex Crime Investigation, Federal Judge Orders City of Oakland Back to Court


Thelton Henderson
  • Thelton Henderson
Late Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson issued a rare order requiring the City of Oakland to appear in court to address the "troubling conclusions" of a recent report on the department's mishandling of a sexual misconduct investigation. The city is required to appear before the court because it's bound by a settlement agreement from a previous police misconduct scandal.

As the Express has reported over the past year, multiple Oakland cops sexually exploited a teenager known as Celeste Guap. Later, other officers and commanders prematurely closed both a criminal and internal affairs investigation into the matter. And the case was hidden from everyone outside the department.

Earlier this year, Judge Henderson appointed two attorneys, Edward Swanson and Audrey Barron, to figure out exactly what went on inside OPD, and who was responsible for stopping the cases from going forward. Their final report, published last week, revealed the department's many failures.

Henderson is requiring Oakland's attorneys to appear in court on July 10 to discuss the report's findings. He wrote in his order that the status conference will also address the sustainability of a now 14 year-old reform effort which OPD has yet to fulfill.

Furthermore, the judge is concerned about potential problems with OPD's new police misconduct tracking system known as PRIME, which is supposed to flag problem behaviors and help the department intervene early on.

Henderson added that Judge William Orrick will join in the status conference. Henderson is retiring this year and Orrick is expected to take over the 17 year-old case of Delphine Allen vs. City of Oakland, which exposed the Riders police misconduct scandal of the early 2000s and led to OPD's court-mandated reform program.