A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

City Attorney John Russo on the Riders' Settlement

Last year an arbitrator upheld the City of Oakland's right to fire to former police officers, Clarence Mabanag and Jue Siapno, for insubordination and multiple acts of police misconduct connected with the notorious "Riders Case." The former officers signed a settlement agreement with the city that was finalized earlier this month.

Here is a video of City Attorney John Russo discussing the settlement, which he called an "unconditional and complete victory" for Oakland. Russo said the case is important because of the principle at stake. "Officers must be accountable to their commanders within the department and ultimately officers are accountable to us, the residents of Oakland," he said. "If officers are able to refuse to answer to police brass and to internal affairs investigations, it would be impossible to have oversight of police behavior."

Russo goes over the history of the case in the video, and explains why the city settled with more than 100 plaintiffs who alleged that they had been mistreated and abused by the Riders gang. Russo said that the reforms the city agreed to make as a result of the suit can be met by next January if there is political will in city hall. The finalization of the monitoring agreement would make a big difference for Oakland, freeing up police resources and lifting the morale of the department.

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