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Federal Takeover of Oakland Cops Urged

By: Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila and Justin Berton

[SFGate.com] Oct. 04, 2012 - A historic fight over whether Oakland can reform its own police force began in earnest Thursday when civil rights attorneys asked a federal judge to take the unprecedented step of appointing a receiver to assure the changes are made.

The attorneys said a broken culture in the department had turned a decade-long reform effort into a "chronic failure," endangering citizens - especially minorities - and costing the city tens of millions of dollars to settle police abuse lawsuits.

The lawyers represented more than 100 people who sued the city after four officers, who called themselves the Riders, were accused in 2000 of imposing vigilante justice in West Oakland. In a resulting settlement, Oakland had to implement a raft of reforms - which remain incomplete.

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