‘Independent’ Panel to Examine Cop Killings

A supposedly “independent” panel of police experts will look into the March 21 fatal shootings of four Oakland cops, including two SWAT team members who died during an ill-advised raid. According to the Trib, the panel will include experts from around the country, but it will be led by an Oakland police captain, which raises the obvious questions of whether the panel can be independent and whether it will take a hard look into whether the SWAT team members died unnecessarily. Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan gave an indication of his answer to those questions at a press conference yesterday: “My sole intent in commissioning this outside investigation is to provide officers, both in OPD and agencies across the country, with key lessons that may save the lives of future officers.” In other words, the panel apparently will be tasked with making recommendations — and not exposing the fatal mistakes that led to the cops’ deaths. Although there is an internal affairs investigation of the incident, this independent panel idea looks more like a whitewash than what OPD is calling it: “A Board of Inquiry.”

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