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Oakland Police Gets 3 More Months To Implement Reforms From 'Riders' Case

OAKLAND (KCBS) - A federal judge has given the Oakland Police Department until June to come up with a plan for carrying out reforms ordered back in 2003.

Several officers known as the "Riders" were accused of planting evidence and abusing suspects.

KCBS' Bob Melrose Reports:

Judge Thelton Henderson's decision at the end of a hearing Thursday left one of the civil rights attorneys representing one of the victims wondering if three more months would lead to any substantial progress.

"It seems that some of the good faith effort is not matched by the results," said lawyer John Burris.

The criminal cases brought against Jude Siapno and Clarence "Chuck" Mabanag were ultimately dismissed after two mistrials. Matthew Hornung was acquitted. A fourth officer, Francisco "Frank" Vazquez, became a fugitive to escape the charges when they were first filed in 2000.

A 2003 agreement to settle a case Burris and attorney Jim Chanin brought on behalf of the victims required reforms within two years in eight areas that include use of force, officer discipline and citizens complaints. Nearly two dozen reforms spelled out in the settlement have not been completed.

"The Riders case for me has reached a high level of frustration," Burris said.

"We've been involved in the reforms since 2003, had two extensions of the agreement and we're still not done."

Burris and Chanin have pressed the judge either to hold some city officials in contempt of court, or to appoint a receiver to carry out the reforms.

KCBS calls to the Oakland Police Department were not returned. In other media accounts, Chief Anthony Batts has blamed police layoffs and city budget troubles for the slow progress in some areas.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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