Oakland police sergeant on leave along with police chief wife, amid criminal allegations
on October 14, 2021
Oakland Police Sgt. Lee French and his wife, Richmond Police Chief Bisa French, are on leave and under investigation, after a domestic violence restraining order was filed against them by a relative who claims they pinned her down and threatened her boyfriend and his family.
The Oakland Police Department Thursday confirmed that Lee French was put on leave and said an internal investigation is underway into “criminal allegations.”
In court documents, 18-year-old relative accused the Frenches of attacking her and threatening to kill Joe Goldman, whom she says is her partner. Goldman, also known as Oho McNair, was charged Tuesday with pimping, human trafficking and pandering from an incident that occurred in June, Alameda County court records show. He denied the charges at an arraignment Thursday, and is being held on $100,000 bail.
Goldman met the teen when she was a minor, according to a probable cause declaration filed in the case. The woman said he taught how her how to “move” and “make money.” She was with Goldman when he was arrested in Richmond Monday, the document said.
A few days earlier, in her applications for restraining orders against Bisa French, 46, and Lee French, 47, the 18-year-old said the couple pushed her, pinned her in a police hold, and twisted her arm and hand. She said that Bisa French “texted me and said ‘does someone have to die for you to come home.’”
In the restraining order applications against Bisa French, 46, and Lee French, 47, the 18-year-old said that the couple pinned her in a police hold, and that Bisa French “texted me and said ‘does someone have to die for you to come home.’” The applications also seek protection for Goldman, 33, his 13-year-old daughter and his 72-year-old mother.
The teen wrote that Bisa French said: “I’m going to kill him (Joe G). I’m going to kill his mother in Vallejo, and I’m going to kill his daughter. I’m going to kill them all. I don’t care if I lose my job, I don’t care if I go to jail.’”
The documents were filed on Oct. 7 in Contra Costa County court. A hearing is set for Oct. 25.
Oakland police initiated the internal investigation of Lee French after receiving information from the Vallejo Police Department. The Frenches allegedly had threatened Goldman at his mother’s home in Vallejo.
Vallejo Police Chief Shawny K. Williams confirmed Thursday that his department is investigating an incident involving members of the Richmond and Oakland police departments.
“As the Chief of Police, when an incident occurs in Vallejo which involves police officers employed by another department, it is my responsibility to contact the employing department to inform them of accusations involving one of their members, so the employing agency can launch an internal affairs investigation,” he said in a prepared statement.
Richmond City Manager Laura Snideman acknowledged that Bisa French is being investigated in a statement Wednesday night but did not provide details. Richmond police Lt. Matt Stonebraker, the public information officer, said the length of French’s leave has not been determined. He said the department would have no further comment.
“The City of Richmond can confirm it has placed its Chief of Police on paid administrative leave because of an unfolding family situation,” Snideman’s statement read. “It’s imperative that we let the investigations play out without distraction and in accordance with established protocols that assure an objective assessment of the facts.”
This story was updated to correct Lee French’s rank.
Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: email@example.com.