OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Oakland Police Department gave a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent the cold shoulder when her car window was smashed.
Oakland police took a lot of heat for helping with traffic control during an ICE raid last summer.
So the chief changed department policy and with strange results.
The Oakland police policy banning cooperation with ICE has come to this: we’ve learned they won’t even help with a federal agent’s car break-in.
Oakland City Council Noel Gallo described the city’s policy.
“The Oakland Police Department are not to assist in deportation cases but only in public emergencies or severe criminal activity,” said Gallo.
It may sound good in theory, but Oakland’s rule limiting police cooperation with immigration authorities to public emergencies only, is having unintended consequences.
KPIX 5 Security Analyst Jeff Harp said, “Right now ICE is the victim of a local crime, a burglarized car.”
Over the weekend, a Homeland Security investigator’s car was broken into and sources tell KPIX 5 that thieves took the lockbox, containing dozens of rounds of ammunition, and a Homeland Security bulletproof vest and jacket.
Harp says it’s dangerous when Homeland Security clothing falls into the wrong hands.
Harp said, “Typically, what has happened in the past, they put these jackets on, they go around to people and they’ll start harassing them, asking for immigration papers, or extort them for money once they’ve sort of identified themselves as an immigration official.”
Sources tell us that when Homeland Security called the Oakland Police Department to find out if they had arrested anyone or recovered the stolen items, they were told the police could not share any information with them.
Councilman Gallo explained Oakland’s current policy.
“The immigration department needs to communicate with the police chief and demonstrate that it’s criminal activity as well as a safety emergency. But even at that case, the support by the police department is very limited,” Gallo said.
But in this case, police and immigration are on the same side, both have an interest in making sure criminals are not impersonating immigration agents.
“You would hope that the two could come to some sort of agreement to find out how they can solve this problem and this crime in a reasonable manner,” Harp said.
Oakland police and ICE authorities both confirmed the theft took place, but the statement from Homeland Security had one pointed sentence: “Further queries regarding recovery of the items should be referred to the Oakland Police Department.”
So far, we are hearing that one person apparently posed for pictures with some of the stolen items and then someone posted those photos to Instagram.
So there is now a suspect, but we don’t yet know whether the items have been recovered or if police have arrested anyone in connection with this case.
Update 12/20/17: ICE released this statement, clarifying the situation: “Reports that the Oakland Police Department (OPD) have not provided assistance following the break in of an official Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) vehicle are false. The criminal matter has been handled professionally by the OPD since it was first reported by the victim.”
Editor’s Note: Law enforcement sources tell KPIX 5 that while OPD may be investigating the theft, OPD command staff decided not to brief ICE on the case because of the city’s sanctuary city policy.