The attempt by critics to win a federal takeover of the Oakland Police Department includes criticism of its former chief, now Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, over what they say was a chronic failure to comply with a decade-old reform settlement, reports the Baltimore Sun. The document cites remarks made by Batts early in his tenure that “there shouldn’t be any excuse” for not meeting the terms of the settlement, and again a year later when he said the agency had “dropped the ball.” “If past is prologue, and it surely will be, the current monitoring model without the appointment of a receiver will undoubtedly result in more failed promises, more lives destroyed, and the continued waste of taxpayer money by the city and the [Oakland Police Department],” says the motion filed by lawyers seeking the federal takeover.
Batts, who spent 27 years with the Long Beach, Ca., Police Department, was hired to lead the Oakland force in late 2009 and stepped down in late 2011, saying his hands had been tied by bureaucracy and a lack of resources. In an interview, Batts said the court monitor in Oakland was counterproductive. “I had to call the monitor twice a week, and I had to ask permission and he had to say, ‘OK'” before moves could be made, he said. Geoff Collins, a businessman who led Oakland’s Police Foundation when Batts was chief, said the court monitors have been “out of control.” The monitors “want to take over the department,” Collins said. “Tony got caught in that grinder.”