'Bring him back': NAACP members rally to demand former Oakland police chief be reinstated

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
NAACP members rally to demand former OPD chief be reinstated
Members of Oakland's NAACP rallied to support fired Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, calling to bring him back.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been more than a week since former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong was fired by Mayor Sheng Thao.

"Bring him back, bring him back," the crowd chanted.

Calls to bring back former OPD Chief LeRonne Armstrong are growing louder by the day.

"We are not here just because he's a Black man, we're here because he's a good man and a good cop," said Rev. Joseph Simmons from the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church.

VIDEO: Former Oakland Police Chief Armstrong fires back at mayor, federal monitor after termination

Former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong fired back at Mayor Sheng Thao and the federal monitor after his termination earlier this week.

East Bay Faith leaders joined the Oakland NAACP at this rally, hundreds of people showed up to support Armstrong.

Armstrong was recently terminated without cause by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao last week. His dismissal came a month after the mayor placed him on paid leave after a federal monitor's report questioned the chief's lack of response surrounding the misconduct by one of his sergeants.

"She took a whole lot of our heart on Black History Month, she did a modern day lynch, in our face," said Oakland NAACP President Cynthia Adams.

Adams shared an email from Jan. 30, from Mayor Thao's Chief of Staff promising that the mayor would meet with the NAACP and other leaders before making a decision about the chief. Adams says that meeting never happened.

RELATED: Oakland police chief says federal monitor report is inaccurate

"I feel like it's a slap in our face, she went on to deal with what she felt like she needed to do," Adams added.

Oakland Chinatown leader Carl Chan says Armstrong kept his promise to protect the community during a rash of hate crimes.

"He told me and made a promise, I will make sure you have the resources you need to support Chinatown, and guess what? He did it," said Chan.

The OPD has been under federal oversight for 20 years. Councilmember Noel Gallo believes the former chief helped bring the department a giant step towards compliance.

VIDEO: 'A major mistake': Oakland community advocates rally for fired police chief LeRonne Armstrong

Oakland community leaders have gathered at the steps of city hall to protest Mayor Sheng Thao's "abrupt" firing of Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

"The chief is going to end up suing the city, costing me millions meantime I'm begging them to fix my streets," said Gallo.

Armstrong says appreciates the community support. In a new statement, his spokesperson said: 'What other city in America is standing up for its police chief like this? Mayor Sheng Thao has a community revolt on her hands. She has let down the community and deprived Oakland of homegrown, reform-driven and accomplished police chief who earned the community's trust the hard way, by delivering on his promises.'

There was no sign of Mayor Sheng Thao at the rally. ABC7 News reached out to her staff for reaction, they responded with no comment.

These advocates say they refuse to stay silent.

"We must stand up, because it's time to bring our chief back," said Simmons.

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