It only took two days on the job for the latest acting chief of police to step down in Oakland. Acting Chief Paul Figueroa was the third head of the department to step down in nine days and the mayor has had enough, saying the Oakland Police Department would now operate under civilian control. Figueroa stepped down as it was revealed that a new internal investigation is looking into racist text messages and emails that were shared among officers in a police force already embroiled in a sex scandal.
“I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said at a news conference Friday night. Schaaf was the one who revealed that police were sending “wholly inappropriate” messages. The message were apparently sent by African American officers who were “engaging in hate speech.” Others received the communication and failed to report it. It is unclear how many were involved in the communications that “depict images of the Ku Klux Klan and use the N-word,” according to NBC.
“I feel that this is an appropriate time to place civilian oversight over this Police Department, to send a clear message about not tolerating misconduct, and to root out what is clearly a toxic, macho culture,” Schaaf said.
The revelation of the racist messages comes as the department is also investigating claims that numerous officers had relations with a sex worker, who claims she slept with three law enforcement officials while she was still underage. Two officers have resigned and three have been placed on leave due to the scandal.
“I’m hoping to not have to fire anyone else anytime soon,” Schaaf said at the news conference.