Safety

City sued in death of bystander during police chase

The family of Lolomania Soakai is suing the Oakland Police Department, claiming that an unauthorized police chase led to the death of the 27-year-old known as “Lolo” last summer. The Soakai family, represented by Adanté Pointer and Patrick Buelna, held a news conference Thursday, a day after the civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court, to announce that they’re seeking to hold OPD responsible for Soakai’s death. Soakai’s mother, Lavina Soakai, who attended with several family members, cried throughout….

Finding ‘significant cultural problems’ in Oakland Police Department, federal judge tells parties to find solution

A federal judge charged with making sure Oakland implements police reforms it promised 20 years ago said during a hearing Tuesday that he was “profoundly disappointed” by a report showing the department has not complied. During a hearing via Zoom, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco said “significant cultural problems remain unaddressed,” after the federal monitor overseeing the department’s compliance found evidence of police misconduct that went unpunished. Orrick instructed all parties involved in the 2000 civil…

Oakland puts Chief Armstrong on leave after report cites leadership failure in continued police misconduct

Oakland officials acknowledged Thursday night that Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong was put on paid administrative leave in light of an investigation by a law firm the city retained to look into allegations that a sergeant was not disciplined for failing to report a car crash and firing his gun in the Police Department’s elevator. The city issued a news release hours after The Oaklandside reported Armstrong’s leave, citing confidential sources. “The decision was not taken lightly, but we believe that…

Already backlogged with calls, Oakland braces for next powerful storm

Oakland’s Public Works department is gearing up for a series of powerful storms expected Wednesday, Thursday and into the weekend and next week, even as workers are still clearing downed trees, mudslides and debris from last weekend’s heavy rainfall. “OPW is identifying specific issues that can be addressed to reduce additional impacts, including clearing drains, inlets, and catch basins,” the city said in a news release issued Tuesday and updated Wednesday. The city is working with Alameda County Flood Control,…

‘Voters have decided it’s time to try something different’: Pamela Price’s election signals reform in district attorney’s office

When Pamela Price takes office next month, she is expected to usher in an era of change and reform in Alameda County, where retiring district attorney Nancy O’Malley held the post for 13 years.  The election was historic even before a winner emerged, as both candidates were African American, marking the first time the county would elect a Black district attorney.   Price won roughly 53% of the vote, getting about 27,000 more votes than Chief Assistant DA Terry Wiley. “We…

Who will be Oakland’s next mayor? Candidates talk public safety and other issues at forum

Nine candidates who want to be Oakland’s next mayor answered questions about gun violence, the environment and quality of life before an audience of about 50 voters Thursday at St. Columba Catholic Church​ in northwest Oakland.  The forum ​was sponsored by Faith in Action East Bay, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Alpha Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Oakland chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. Ken Hamilton moderated, giving each candidate two…

Living in a ‘Disneyland of disasters,’ Oaklanders show up at Chabot to prepare for emergencies

For many, getting prepared for emergencies is a daunting task, leading them to procrastinate from taking simple preemptive steps to manage critical situations for themselves, their families, and their communities. About 500 people set those fears aside last Saturday to participate in an Emergency Preparedness Day at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, where they had fun while learning practical steps to take in planning for emergencies.  The event normally is held every other year, and last week’s was the first…

Oakland offering grants for programs that help in wake of violence: ‘Healing growth happens best when community leads the way.’

When Oakland resident LeJon Loggins lost his cousin to gun violence in 2006, he designed the obituary as he would a piece of artwork. It was an eight-page, double-sided pamphlet full of colors, images, quotes, and memories. “Kind of like a school yearbook,” Loggins said.  “I wanted people in the community to know that his life was more than a number discussed on the news. When you look at the obituary and start smiling and remembering, you start the healing…

6 victims and at least 2 shooters in Wednesday’s Oakland school shooting

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said Thursday that at least two shooters fired 30 or more rounds on the King Estates school campus in East Oakland Wednesday afternoon, wounding six adults, two of whom are students.  Armstrong added that police know a driver was involved and possibly others. Police have made no arrests but believe the shooting was gang-related. Armstrong said police also think the shooters had a target and that those who were shot were not targeted. Oakland city…