Councilmember Taylor's Statement on The Decision To Fire Chief LeRonne Armstrong

February 16, 2023

Dear Loren,

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement.

I truly believe that the decision to fire Chief Armstrong and the way it was made places Oakland on the wrong trajectory for public safety, police reform, government transparency, and community trust/empowerment.

This decision was set in motion several weeks ago when Mayor Thao first placed him on administrative leave and issued a nationwide press release, publicly alleging his misconduct without providing him a forum to publicly respond. And as I wrote in my statement on January 21st, "Placing someone on administrative leave - especially at the senior executive level - is clearly a step toward (their) possible dismissal”

While Mayor Thao wanted public support for her pending decision, efforts to publicly build a case against the Chief fell short (despite confidential documents being leaked to the media). Ultimately, the mayor had no choice but to fire him "without cause" instead of firing him "for cause".

What wasn't anticipated, though, was how, members from Black, Asian, Latino, and White communities rallied to make it clear how much Chief Armstrong has done to build trust and strengthen community/police relations. They rallied in support of him and praised the leadership he has provided for public safety as well as increased accountability & transparency. They also asked for a fair & transparent process in reviewing this case and assessing progress made under Chief Armstrong's leadership.

But the way this decision was made and announced was neither fair nor transparent. By preemptively holding her press conference an hour before yesterday's police commission meeting (which was scheduled to review the case and possible disciplinary actions), community participation and transparency were undermined when the police commission was cut out of the discipline review process. In the commission's statement, released by Chair Dr. Tyfahra Milele, last night, the police commission stated that "It is clear that there were questions about the credibility and quality of the outside investigation report issued by a San Francisco law firm."

I sincerely hope that the unanswered questions about the credibility and quality of the outside investigation report get thoroughly evaluated as well as the circumstances by which the confidential report was leaked.

While disappointing, disheartening, and frustrating, I acknowledge the finality of the mayor's decision and want to close by commending Chief Leronne Armstrong for: 

  • His decades of service to and leadership of our city
  • The thousands of lives he has saved directly and indirectly as a public safety officer
  • The hundreds of young men and women from Oakland he has mentored and helped to excel in life
  • The increased number of diverse and locally rooted officers
  • The significant reforms he led the Oakland Police Department in implementing (more than each of the Chiefs before him were able to accomplish)
  • And so much more.


Chief Armstrong, Thank you for your service to our Town!

With prayers for Oakland,

Loren M. Taylor, former Councilmember & Community Advocate

City of Oakland

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