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Mayor says nine Oakland officers engaged in ‘racist and sexist’ social media

Nine Oakland police officers have been disciplined in the wake of an investigation into what officials called “racist and sexist” posts on social media, the mayor’s office said Friday.

An independent third-party investigation began in January after Oakland Police Department officials learned of an Instagram account with “deeply offensive content,” according to a statement issued Friday by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff’s office.

Investigators seized more than 140 work phones. The investigation revealed that a former Oakland police officer created the Instagram account shortly after he was fired for violating department policy, the mayor’s office said.

The disciplined officers allegedly accessed inappropriate material on department-issued equipment and engaged in conduct that “brings disrepute to OPD,” among other things, according to the mayor’s office.

Those receiving discipline range in rank from officer to lieutenant, receiving from three to 25 days of unpaid suspension, the mayor’s office said. Two of the nine who received discipline have since taken jobs with other law enforcement agencies, and those two agencies have been notified of the results of the investigation, according to the mayor’s office.

Oakland’s Community Police Review Agency, overseen by Oakland’s Citizen Police Commission, also conducted a separate independent investigation.

In hopes of preventing future such incidents, the department will take actions including reviewing and strengthening existing policies for department-issued technology, creating additional training on the appropriate use of department cell phones and developing robust training to ensure no violations of its zero-tolerance racial policy forbidding any engagement with racist, extremist or white supremacy groups, the mayor’s office said.

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