The circumstances of Oakland Police officer Hector Jimenez’s 2009 termination for two officer-involved shootings and a labor arbitrator’s ruling earlier this year that he be rehired will be discussed at next Thursday’s hearing on federal oversight of OPD.
On September 7th, plaintiff’s attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin filed a letter with Judge Henderson citing the Informant’s coverage of Henderson’s interest in Officer Jimenez. In particular, Burris and Chanin pointed out the inclusion of Jimenez’s full arbitration decision in our article.
A day later, Judge Henderson filed an order indicating Officer Jimenez’s name will be discussed in open court because his case has received considerable press coverage — thereby negating the argument that the officer’s privacy should be protected.
“The city appears to have been largely silent about the reinstatement of Officer Jimenez [REDACTED],” the September 8th order states. “While Defendants may be unable to overturn the arbitrator’s decision that the shooting was justified and that the Department did not have just cause to terminate Jimenez’s employment, Defendants shall address whether they have plans to return Officer Jimenez to patrol duty or some other assignment.”
In addition to the Jimenez shooting, Judge Henderson will also discuss a ruling by fellow U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel that OPD illegally strip searched two men in public (there are 37 more cases to be heard in this class action) and OPD’s high rate of pointing weapons at suspects. Judge Patel’s ruling in the strip search case, Henderson wrote, “highlights potential inadequacies in the Internal Affairs process and also raises a question as to whether the Department policies allow for the re-opening of investigations if new information, including evidence presented during a judicial proceeding, is uncovered.”
At the end of the hearing, Judge Henderson will hold a closed meeting to discuss the particulars of OPD’s Internal Affairs and Executive Force Review Board reviews of Jimenez’s two fatal shootings with attorneys and select OPD command staff yet to be named.
In recent status conferences on Oakland federal oversight, Judge Henderson has openly shown frustration with OPD’s pace of reform and alternatively threatened to hold officers in contempt of court for blocking reforms and to place Oakland Police under federal receivership. However, the combination of Officer Jimenez’s rehiring, the strip search ruling, and OPD’s loose handling of their weapons have attracted Judge Henderson’s scrutiny and cast doubts on whether the time is right to end his eight years of overseeing Oakland Police.
“All of these issues have a direct impact on compliance with the negotiated reforms in this case. They are indications that Defendants have yet to fully understand or appreciate the spirit of the reforms, and signs that the moral compass of the Department continues to need correction. The Court draws the parties’ attention to these particular issues to provide a focus for the upcoming status conference. The parties should, of course, also raise any other issues significant to compliance, keeping in mind that the Court remains interested in substance over rhetoric, and actions over promises, particularly as we approach what will hopefully be the last stage of Court monitoring in this case.”