11 Oakland officers fired for false warrants

January 16, 2009 12:01:49 AM PST
The Oakland Police Department notified 11 officers, including two sergeants, Thursday that they were being fired for their involvement in the falsification of search warrants.

The firings come after an internal police department investigation that found the officers had knowledge that information in their warrant affidavits was false. The investigation began months ago, after people came forward saying their civil rights had been violated by the police.

"These terminations are difficult for the city, but they show that honesty and integrity are non-negotiable for officers in the Oakland Police Department," City Attorney John Russo said in a press release.

Several officers also gave false statements to Internal Affairs investigators.

"You have a police department that's really out of control and these officers are finally going to be held accountable," Amey Law Firm spokesperson Jason Hodge said.

Hodge's firm represents two people who accuse the department of gaining illegal entry into their homes. They are now suing the city and the police department.

"You can't have a city that's afloat with a police department that's run amuck, so we're hopeful the mayor and the citycouncil will launch a full scale investigation and get to the root of this," Hodge said.

Hodge is sure the terminations will help their case.

"I'm hopeful the other police officers will get the message that this kind of untruthful conduct will not be tolerated," civil rights attorney Jim Chanin said.

Chanin also expects major repercussions from the firings. He represents more than a dozen people in a class action lawsuit who are all making the same claims about the police department.

"They induced judges to sign warrants which resulted in officers invading people's homes and arresting them based on information that turned out not to be true," Chanin said.

In some cases, officers told judges they found drugs inside the homes and that they had lab tests to prove it. The city attorney's investigation shows that lab tests were never done.