Oakland has spent millions fighting former police chief’s successful lawsuit
on June 3, 2022
Oakland has spent almost $2.9 million to date to defend a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.
A federal jury last Saturday, finding the city had no grounds to fire Kirkpatrick, awarded her $337,645 in damages — an amount equal to a year’s compensation.
Ryan Richardson, Oakland special counsel, said the award was “equivalent of the one-year severance the City was ready and willing to pay when she was terminated in 2020.”
According to an expense report provided by Richardson, Oakland has spent $2.887 million on the lawsuit, not including the amount awarded by the jury. With the window to appeal still open, it’s too soon to know if Kirkpatrick will seek or be awarded attorney’s costs or other fees, Richardson said.
The city has not decided if it will appeal the decision.
Kirkpatrick, the first woman to lead the department when she was hired in 2017, filed the lawsuit in August 2020, claiming she was fired after repeatedly raising concerns about abuse of power within the Police Commission.
“For nearly three years, Chief Kirkpatrick raised a series of alarms about this Commissioner misconduct, which she believed violated the law,” the suit stated. “Those alarms went largely unheeded.”
Kirkpatrick and her lawyers also claimed the city had violated her First Amendment rights by firing her and thus prohibiting her from speaking out against the alleged misconduct.
The jury ruled in favor of Kirkpatrick on the retaliation claim but against her on the First Amendment issue, awarding her only actual damages.
Kirkpatrick is now doing consulting work, according to her Linkedin page.
Her attorney could not be reached for comment.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[…] Story continues […]