The Oakland Police Department has lost its third police chief in nine days, yet another hit for a department mired in an underage sex scandal.
Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Friday that Acting Chief Paul Figueroa had resigned. Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent resigned earlier this month, and his interim replacement Ben Fairow was fired six days after taking over. Now, Figueroa is resigning after just two days on the job. The mayor did not give a reason for the resignation and has been scarce on details behind all the changes in leadership, but the department is clearly in turmoil as multiple officers have been accused of sleeping with the same underage prostitute.
The department will now answer to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, The Los Angeles Times reports. Schaaf also said an investigation was underway into racist text messages from black police officers, but that Figueroa was not involved.
“I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said at a press conference. She called the text messages “wholly inappropriate and not acceptable for anyone who wears the badge of the Oakland Police Department,” and went on to attack “what is clearly a toxic, macho culture” in the police force.
The Oakland Police Department sex scandal erupted when officer Brendan O’Brien committed suicide in September. O’Brien left a note claiming a local prostitute was sleeping with cops within the department. Since then, the scope of the scandal has grown to include two dozen officers at several departments. Newly implicated departments have said they are investigating the allegations.
The Richmond woman, who is going by the name “Celeste Guap” to protect her identity, told The East Bay Times that she slept with three officers before she turned 18. She said police officers looked out for her and tipped her off to prostitution stings. She said she didn’t accept money for sex with the cops but did sleep with a retired Oakland police captain for money. In total, she says she slept with two dozen current and former cops from five different departments.
Guap said the cops knew she was underage. She said they called her “juve,” short for juvenile. Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations that officers slept with the minor.
“I think cops are fine,” she told The East Bay Times. “They’re cute and all, but it’s like one less officer that’s gonna arrest me.”
Five officers in the department have been put on leave and two have resigned. The departments with accused officers include Richmond, Stockton, Livermore, Oakland, and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
San Francisco’s police department is facing its own text message scandal after texts between cops using racial slurs went public. San Francisco’s racial scandal has jeopardized thousands of criminal cases and some have already been dismissed.
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