The Slatest

Report: Dolezal Said Father Was Black Officer From Oakland While Seeking Police Role

Rachel Dolezal claimed to have had a father who was a member of
Rachel Dolezal reportedly claimed to have had a father who was a member of the Oakland police department.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Tyler Tjomsland/the Spokesman-Review via AP and Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Rachel Dolezal allegedly told Spokane officials her father was a black law enforcement officer from Oakland when seeking an appointment to a police oversight committee, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports:

“I thought that kind of background would be beneficial,” said Spokane City Councilman and Public Safety Committee Chairman Jon Snyder.

Former Spokane police Officer Cliff Walter agreed.

“I remember that very clearly,” said Walter, who was on the selection panel at Mayor David Condon’s request and thought someone who grew up in a law enforcement family and was active in civil rights issues would be good to have on the panel.

Dolezal’s biological father is white and not a police officer. She has also, however, identified a black man named Albert Wilkerson Jr. her father, explaining during a Tuesday morning interview on NBC that he was a sort of spiritual mentor. In a Spokesman-Review article from 2008, Wilkerson is said to have worked in law enforcement, though it’s not clear that he ever lived in Oakland.

The 2008 article says Wilkerson’s family moved north from Birmingham, Alabama, after his father had a confrontation with a white police officer. Dolezal said in a 2015 radio interview that her black father had moved north “on the midnight train” because of such an altercation. Her “father” became a police officer in San Diego, she said in that interview, and was also in the Marines—where she says that on three occasions racist subordinates tried to kill him.

The 2008 Wilkerson article mentions that he spent time in the Marines but not that anyone ever tried to kill him.