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Richmond Police Chief Bisa French Placed On Administrative Leave Amid 'Family Situation'

RICHMOND (CBS SF) -- Richmond's police chief is on leave because of what the city called "an unfolding family situation" that has reportedly involved other Bay Area police departments.

The City of Richmond said Police Chief Bisa French was placed on paid administrative leave but it would not make any additional comments until investigations are concluded out of respect for French and her family and a desire to protect their privacy. Acting Chief Louie Tirona will lead the department.

Bay Area News Group reported both French and her husband, Oakland Police Sgt. Lee French, have been accused by an 18-year-old family member of abuse. Sgt. French has also been placed on leave by his department, the report said.

The family member has accused them of attacking her and threatening to kill her and the man she says is her partner, while the French's claim the woman is being manipulated by the partner they characterize as a pimp, according to Bay Area News Group.

The partner was identified as 34-year-old Napa resident Joe Goldman, who was charged Wednesday with pimping the French's family member, according to the report.

Vallejo police were also investigating an alleged incident involving French and her husband at Goldman's mother's home in Vallejo, according to the Bay Area News Group report. Oakland's internal affairs department has launched an investigation after Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams tipped off Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong about the incident, the report said.

On Thursday Williams confirmed his department was investigating an incident involving members of the Richmond and Oakland Police Departments.

"As the Chief of Police, when an incident occurs in Vallejo which involves police officers employed by another department, it is my responsibility to contact the employing department to inform them of accusations involving one of their members, so the employing agency can launch an internal affairs investigation," said Williams in an emailed statement. "All communications with the Richmond and Oakland Police Departments were conducted in accordance with standard operating procedures. Since this is an ongoing investigation, no further details can be provided at this time."

Oakland police also released a statement Thursday saying its department was conducting an internal investigation into criminal allegations involving an OPD member after being contacted by the Vallejo Police Department and confirmed the member was on administrative leave.

OPD said the investigation was open and active and no additional details will be released at this time.

French is the first woman to head the Richmond Police Department, assuming the job in 2019 after the previous police chief stepped down following a vote of no confidence by the city's Police Officers Association.


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