Oakland, Calif. — Mayor Libby Schaaf and her new Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick demonstrated a blatant disregard for the failure of the Oakland Police Department’s leadership in the investigation of the 2015 rape and sexual abuse of minor “Celeste Guap,” as they promoted two of those responsible to high leadership positions on July 14.
The teenager had been raped and sexually abused by Bay Area police officers. Despite the fact that she was a key witness in as yet uncharged cases against at least eight officers, “Guap” was sent off to a Florida rehabilitation center before a single charge had been filed. “Celeste Guap” is a pseudonym used after Florida law enforcement released the teenager’s real name. (Workers.org, 9/8/2016)
Yet city officials went to great lengths to protect the police officers. Not even the mainstream media were allowed inside the secretive promotions ceremony for Officers John Lois and Roland Holmgren. The promotions seemingly occurred under the radar of Federal Judge Thelton Henderson, who held a hearing July 10 related to failures of the city leadership and the Oakland Police Department to properly investigate the child rape and trafficking scandal, brought to light in the federally sponsored Swanson-Barron report. The OPD is still under federal monitoring from the 2003 Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA).
Chief Kirkpatrick has approved major promotions for the very officers who, the Swanson-Barron report found, failed to properly investigate the rape scandal, notify the federal monitor, the district attorney and mayor, and even encouraged destruction of evidence in the case.
Schaaf closed her investigation before findings were even issued. Lois was promoted to assistant chief, the second-highest post in the department. Holmgren was promoted to captain, overseeing the criminal investigation division.
According to the East Bay Express, the Swanson-Barron report documented the failings of Lois, Holmgren and Captain Kirk Coleman of the criminal investigation division to sufficiently investigate officer wrongdoing during the Guap case in 2015. The three were the most senior personnel overseeing the sex-crime allegations. (July 10, 2017)
A brief filed by civil rights attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris, who originally brought the class action which led to the NSA, noted: “There is no evidence that any of the officers engaging in this behavior, or any of the supervisors who observed it and apparently failed to report it, stop it, or discipline their subordinates, were ever investigated, and if appropriate, disciplined by the Oakland Police Department.” (East Bay Express, July 6, 2017)
The Anti Police-Terror Project staged a picket line outside the outrageous OPD promotions ceremony held on the outskirts of Oakland calling for “Prosecution not promotion” and the firing of rapist cops.
The APTP challenged Mayor Schaaf’s and Chief Kirkpatrick’s ability to get a handle on the blatant culture of sexual abuse and general disregard for the rights of the Black community, people of color, LGBTQIA, undocumented, disabled and unhoused people of Oakland. Endorsers of action also included the National Brown Berets, the People’s Commission for Justice, Peace Out Loud and Workers World Party.