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Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao rejects list of police chief candidates as search continues

Oakland's search for a police chief continues as mayor asks for another list of candidates
Oakland's search for a police chief continues as mayor asks for another list of candidates 01:42

OAKLAND – Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has rejected a list of candidates for police chief by the city's Police Commission, as the months-long search to replace fired Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong continues.

In a statement to CBS News Bay Area, a spokesperson for the mayor's office said Thao has requested a new list of candidates from the commission.

"Mayor Thao thanks the Oakland Police Commission for their continued service and looks forward to working with the commissioners to select the best possible candidate for Oakland," said spokesperson Francis Zamora.

The mayor's office said under the City Charter, the Police Commission, with the help of the City Administrator, is charged with making the job announcement, preparing a list of at least three candidates and sending the names, along with background materials to the Mayor. The Mayor has the option of appointing a name from the list or rejecting the list entirely and request a new list from the Commission.

When asked why the mayor wanted a new list, Zamora said, "She would like to review more candidates in order to make a well informed decision on the best police chief for Oakland."

Earlier this month, the commission sent a list of three candidates to the mayor's office to replace Armstrong, who was fired by Thao shortly after taking office. Neither the mayor's office nor the Police Commission revealed whose names are on the list.

In a statement reacting to Thao's announcement, Armstrong said, "It is unfair that I am unable to continue to serve and protect the people of Oakland. As a native of Oakland, nothing gave me greater pleasure and pride than to work in my community and fight to improve it." 

Thao fired Armstrong in February after an independent report cited a failure of leadership in his handling of two misconduct cases involving the same officer.

But a retired judge tasked with reviewing Armstrong's appeal found, "There is no evidence that the deficits in the investigation were due to a failure of leadership by anyone including Chief Armstrong, or by any lack of commitment to hold members of the OPD accountable."

The judge also called for the Thao's initial 30-day suspension of Armstrong to be removed from his record. Thao fired back saying her decision to fire the Armstrong wasn't based on the initial report, but rather his knee-jerk reaction to it.

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