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Warshaw’s Actions Probed in Oakland

By Frank Parlato

Robert Warshaw (above) issued a scathing report on the Oakland police dept. In return, Oakland city dministrator, Deanna Santana (below), claimed that
Warshaw tried to usurp her authority and made inappropriate comments.

Robert Warshaw is in high demand as a police force monitor and has worked on the monitoring teams for the Pittsburgh, Pa, Police Department, the Prince George's County, Md, Police Department, the Oversight Commission for Policing Reform in Northern Ireland, and the New Jersey State Police Department, who had to sign a consent decree because of instances of sexual assault by its officers, including the rape of a college student.

Not every police department is as good as the one in Niagara Falls.

In 2003, Warshaw went to Detroit to monitor the Detroit PD in order for them to comply with two federal court orders to settle lawsuits brought by the Justice Department over allegations of police brutality, detention of innocent homicide witnesses, unsafe holding cells where prisoners died, and the too frequent use of the choke hold and similar carotid holds, when deadly force was allegedly not necessary.

The monitoring ran longer than expected. Warshaw’s entry into Detroit was prompted by the resignation of Sheryl Robinson Woods, who resigned from her position of monitor after the FBI discovered text messages that pointed to a personal relationship and inappropriate meetings between her and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Warshaw came on board at a rate of $1.1 million a year.

Warshaw, reportedly, was also quietly hired by the government of Puerto Rico to assist in mitigating political damage and possible intervention of the U.S. Department of Justice on the colonial government of Puerto Rico, as a result of complaints filed by the Puerto Rico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The superintendent of the Puerto Rican police subsequently ordered the police not to use the choke hold.

Warshaw is also monitoring Oakland’s long-running fight with the federal courts over its police department, arising out of an early 2000’s lawsuit filed by several Oakland residents, who alleged that they had been victims of false arrests, illegal beatings, falsified testimony, and withheld, manufactured, or altered evidence. In the course of his work, Warshaw found himself being investigated by the city for allegedly sexually harassing the city’s administrator.

Warshaw was expected to issue a scathing report on the Oakland Police force. The report, it was feared, might prompt U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who had sent Warshaw to Oakland in the first place, to put the Oakland Police Department into receivership.

On October 2nd, Warshaw released his expected critical report on the Oakland Police Department’s noncompliance and the lack of managerial skill and political will to bring the force into compliance.

In November, Oakland City Administrator, Deanna Santana, declared that Warshaw tried to “assume a “Shadow City Administrator” role, rather than a “Shadow (police) Chief” role.”, and that Warshaw “created an environment in which my role as City Administrator has been impaired.”

City attorneys also filed a motion disclosing that an investigation was underway into allegations against Warshaw. It seems that City Administrator Santana, a married mother of two, complained that Warshaw repeatedly proposed that Santana meet him at private locations, made personal remarks that she took as inappropriate and, in one case, she said, Warshaw took her hand and told her she looked “stunning.”

Warshaw also allegedly used abusive language when talking to Santana about Police Chief Howard Jordan.

An independent investigator was brought in by the city to investigate Warshaw. Judge Henderson sealed the details of the investigation and refused the city's request "to bar all communications" with Warshaw.

In December, the Oakland Police Department was given one last chance to reform. If it fails, it will become the first in the nation to be handed over to the federal government.

Warshaw has characterized the Oakland Police Department as “one of stubborn resistance to compliance with an Agreement made long ago: an Agreement that simply enumerates concepts common in police agencies across the country.”

According to court documents, on top of other work he does to monitor the Oakland Police, Warshaw’s average monthly site visits cost the city $10,000 per visit.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jan 29 , 2013