In today’s interview with KALW’s Holly Kernan, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts spoke positively about the department’s efforts to comply with the “Negotiated Settlement Agreement,” a sweeping reform effort overseen by Federal Judge Thelton Henderson in San Francisco. The Negotiated Settlement Agreement (or NSA for short) has become a core aspect of the Oakland Police Department: since it was implemented in 2003, the NSA has outlasted three chiefs of police and countless officers.
So just what exactly is the NSA?
The court order is the end result of what’s known as the ‘Riders’ scandal, where a group of OPD officers allegedly assaulted, kidnapped, framed, and falsely arrested residents of the West Oakland neighborhood they patrolled. ‘Riders’ is the nickname the officers adopted for themselves. Their actions were revealed in 2000 when a rookie officer, Keith Batt, publicly revealed the behavior he had observed as a trainee assigned to patrol with the Riders. Coincidentally, it was around this time that the Los Angeles Police Department became embroiled in the Ramparts scandal which involved behavior by LAPD officers similar to the conduct attributed to the Riders.
Four officers were eventually indicted on 49 felony charges. Matt Hornung, 33, Clarence “Chuck” Mabanag, 39, and Jude Siapno, 36, were acquitted, while a fourth, Frank Vazquez fled to Mexico and remains on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list. Continue reading