FBI investigates Oakland police captain

January 23, 2009 8:07:55 PM PST
The FBI is investigating Oakland Police Captain Edward Poulson, the head of the department's internal affairs unit. Poulson is accused of orchestrating a cover-up over the suspicious death of a drug suspect.

On the night of March 23, 2000, Poulson, then a lieutenant was working with an undercover team on Holly Street and 73rd Avenue, where police say they arrested 38-year-old Jerry Amaro when he tried to buy crack from a decoy.

"He said he was beaten by police, he was taken over to the hospital," attorney John Burris, who was asked by Amaro's parents to investigate their son's suspicious death. "He went back home and he was sick and about 30 days later he died. "

Amaro died from pneumonia caused by broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Coroner's investigators reviewed the police report, which did not mention any beating by officers, but a subsequent police investigation discovered Poulson had kicked Amaro and broke his ribs.

According to the Chauncey Bailey Project, which investigated the incident, officers on the scene told police internal affairs that Poulson told them to lie and say he did not kick Amaro.

Those investigators recommended Poulson be fired, but then-Police Chief Richard Word chose instead to suspend him for two weeks.

"There were people in the department who were aware of it and they were overruled so it was being covered up at a very high level," David Chai said. Chai is Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums' chief of staff. "We are going to work fully with the FBI on this and get to the bottom of the situation; we just want to know, to seek the truth."

More recently, Paulson was leading the investigation into a search warrant scandal in which 11 officers may be fired for falsifying information to obtain search warrants.

The FBI will only confirm they are looking at an allegation and nothing more.

"These allegations are not in any way related to any wide ranging probe of the Oakland Police Department, nor in anyway related to the slaying of Chauncey Bailey," FBI spokesperson Joseph Schadler said.

Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker said in a written statement, Poulson has been suspended with pay and that the department is cooperating with the FBI.


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