Sergeant at Heart of Oakland Police Controversy Avoided Punishment and Earned Nearly $500K

A confidential investigation conducted by an outside law firm into the Oakland Police Department (OPD) in Oakland, California, has shed light on the turmoil behind the recent leave of Oakland’s police chief, LeRonne Armstrong, Darwin BondGraham reports for the Oaklandside. The investigation was prompted by a hit-and-run incident and a bizarre gun discharge incident involving OPD Sergeant Michael Chung, highlighted in a January report. Chung, who was paid nearly $500,000 in 2021 including overtime for special Chinatown patrols, was in charge of the extra police patrols in Chinatown and OPD’s new drone unit. 

The leaked investigation reports suggest that OPD command staff, including Armstrong and former Captain of Internal Affairs Wilson Lau, allegedly tried to protect Chung from repercussions during investigations into the incidents. The records also document a number of alleged questionable practices by OPD, such as officers using personal cell phones from police communications, which is against department policy, and a policy that allows officers accused of crimes and violating department rules to be represented by the same police union attorney.

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