A sex scandal involving the Oakland Police Department in California has taken down another police boss shortly after he was appointed to replace the previous police chief, who resigned over the scandal last week.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf fired interim police Chief Ben Fairow on Wednesday and named Assistant Chief Paul Figueroa as acting leader of the beleaguered force.
“With the abrupt resignation of Sean Whent last week, we sought to have seamless leadership of the Oakland Police Department and selected an individual who understood the dynamics in Oakland,” Schaaf said in a statement cited by the East Bay Times of Walnut Creek, California. “However, I have just received information that has caused me to lose confidence in Ben Fairow’s ability to lead the Oakland Police Department at this particular moment in time.”
— East Bay Express (@EastBayExpress) June 15, 2016
The mayor didn’t elaborate on why she made the decision to abruptly oust Whent’s replacement. Whent had been credited by some for improvements in the department, and although Schaaf said Whent's decision to step down was “personal,” it’s believed he was ousted over the sex scandal, the Los Angeles Times reported.
After years of public outcry over police brutality and racial profiling in Oakland, the city’s police department appeared to be overcoming its poor reputation and seemed poised to emerge from 13 years of federal monitoring.
But in September, the suicide of a local police officer and a note he left behind led to allegations of sexual misconduct, involving a number of officers and the pseudonymous Celeste Guap, a woman described in media reports as a young prostitute and the daughter of a police dispatcher. Guap claimed last week she had sex at different times with at least 23 officers from different area law enforcement agencies, including 14 from the Oakland Police Department.
She also claimed three of those officers, including the one who committed suicide last fall, had sex with her when she was underage. She claimed the men offered to protect her and would tip her off to sting operations, and that she didn’t accept money for sex with them. Several officers have admitted they lied about their relationships with the woman.
Fairow had pledged this week to lead the investigation into the sexual misconduct scandal. But Figueroa now could be handling that job.