california local news

Fired Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong files lawsuit against mayor, city

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

(KRON) — Former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong has filed a lawsuit against the City of Oakland and Mayor Sheng Thao alleging he was illegally fired last year. In the suit, former Chief Armstrong claims he was fired in retaliation for “his courage in speaking out about misconduct” by Oakland PD’s federal monitor, Robert Warshaw.

The lawsuit alleges Armstrong’s firing violated California law and his First Amendment rights in connection to Mayor Thao’s decision to fire him last February.

Oakland PD has been subject to federal monitoring for the last two decades. That monitoring has been long overseen by Warshaw. The lawsuit, which was electronically filed on Monday, accuses Warshaw of discrediting and minimizing the efforts of the more than 10 police chiefs Oakland has had since 2013 for his own personal benefit.

Mayor Thao, the lawsuit states, was intimidated by Warshaw and bowed to his pressure in firing Armstrong, instead of “standing up for Oakland.”

“Mayor Thao placed Chief Armstrong on paid leave and then quickly terminated him before the Police Commission, the media, and the public had time to assess the accuracy of Warshaw’s outside law firm’s criticism of Armstrong,” reads a section of the 28-page lawsuit. “Remarkably, after retaliating against Armstrong by terminating him, Mayor Thao admitted her decision to terminate Chief Armstrong was retaliatory in nature.”

At the time of his dismissal, the official reason given by Mayor Thao was connected to a report released by a law firm working for the federal monitor alleging Armstrong mishandled two misconduct incidents within OPD.

Mayor Thao, the lawsuit states, “had repeatedly and publicly explained her reasons for the unlawful termination — and those reasons are illegal and retaliatory on their face.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.