OAKLAND (CN) — The police chief of scandal-plagued Oakland, Calif., has resigned amid reports that as many as a dozen officers had sex with the daughter of a dispatcher who may have been as young as 16 during some of the encounters.
Police Chief Sean Whent announced his resignation through the office of Mayor Libby Schaaf, who said repeatedly during a combative press conference Friday that it was the chief’s decision and he was not forced out.
“I am so proud to have served Oakland over the course of my two decade-long career,” Whent said in his statement.
The resignation is the second in as many months for a Bay Area police chief. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned in May after another fatal police shooting, in this case that of a 27-year-old black woman.
The Oakland Police Department has a long history of scandals, including one dating back a decade to the “Riders Scandal,” in which four officers were found to have kidnapped citizens, assaulted them and planted evidence, while the department turned a blind eye.
Whent, often described as soft-spoken, even-keeled and well-liked, was perceived to be putting the department on the right track, but he leaves amid a flurry of new allegations.
The new scandal involves the daughter of a police dispatch worker, who claims to have had sex with a dozen officers, three of whom may have begun the relations when she was underage.
However, the woman, who identifies herself as Celeste Guap, said in a Facebook post in early May that “the only officer I messed with underage is sadly gone now.”
The reference appears to be to former Oakland police Officer Brendan O’Brien, who killed himself last September. In his suicide note he mentioned his relations with Guap and the far-reaching implications of the scandal.
A year before O’Brien’s suicide, his wife, Irma Huerta Lopez, died, on June 16, 2014. While her death was ruled a suicide, a homicide investigation was briefly opened and Lopez’s family maintains that O’Brien killed her and made it look like a suicide.
Multiple reports allege that other officers new of the sex scandal and did not report it. Two officers resigned during the sex scandal investigation and two others were placed on administrative leave, but no criminal charges were filed.
Then on March 23, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who is overseeing the Oakland Police Department’s court-ordered reform for the Riders Scandal, issued a one-page order criticizing the department’s internal affairs department for its handling of the investigation.
“This case raises most serious concerns that may well impact defendants’ ability to demonstrate their commitment to accountability and sustainability — both of which are key to ending court oversight,” Henderson wrote in the order.
The sex scandal is not the only problem dogging the department. Officer Cullen Faeth was arrested recently and charged with public intoxication, battery and trespassing after police say he tried to break into a home in Redwood Heights.
Another officer, Matthew Santos, was accused of pointing a gun at a man painting his apartment in Emeryville. Santos was fired.
While Mayor Schaaf insisted on Friday that Whent resigned of his own volition, she said she was “extremely angry about the alleged misconduct” in the sex scandal.
BART Police Deputy Chief Benson Fairow will step in as interim police chief.
Emails sent to the Oakland Police Department were not returned Tuesday.
- $35 Million Wasn’t Enough, Job Site Says
- San Diego Council Appeals for the Seals