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Tempers Flare at Oakland Police Commission Meeting Over Chief Kirkpatrick Firing

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- The Oakland Police Commission met for the first time Thursday evening since firing the city's police chief Anne Kirkpatrick. The Commission got an earful from those who supported and those who opposed her firing.

There was plenty of support for the Commission's unanimous vote to fire Chief Kirkpatrick last week.

Cathy Leonard, an Oakland resident said, "I would like to see a police department that follows the rules, stops lying and protects the interest of the community."

Those who backed the commission's decision said their biggest gripe was the lack of fair policing.

Doug Blacksher, an Oakland resident said, "My mom lives in East Oakland and I've been a resident for over 57 years. The policing that goes on in her neighborhood is different than what goes on in Montclair."

After her firing, Kirkpatrick criticized the power the police commission holds and the way she was fired without cause. Tonight the commission fired back.

Commission chair Regina Jackson said, "Kirkpatrick's recent media games to attack the mayor and the commission only reinforces that we made the right decision."

This week, roughly 200 police officers gathered at police union headquarters to say goodbye to their chief of three years.

Maria Pinkhasov, a paramedic, worried what Kirklkpatrick's departure will mean for the department.

"The morale in the department while she was there was unbelievable. They had someone they can look up to. The morale has dipped and a lot of people are talking about leaving," Pinkhasov said.

Some also question who's holding the Commission, made up of citizen volunteers, accountable for their actions.

Susan Molloy, an Oakland police department employee, said, "These civilians walk into the police department and say 'this is how it's going to go now.' I see a power grab from the police commission more than support."

The Oakland City Council is now considering expanding the powers of the police commission. The issues will be debated at a council meeting next week.

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