Police misconduct

2 police chiefs ousted in Oakland amid allegations of sexual exploitation of a teen sex worker

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (L) and former Police Chief Sean Whent (R) earlier this year. (Photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

A police misconduct scandal involving the alleged exploitation of a teen sex worker in Oakland, Calif., has seen two police chiefs removed from the department in six days. Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the “immediate removal” of Ben Farrow as interim police chief on Wednesday, though she declined to say why she removed him other than that she “just received information that caused me to lose confidence” in Fairow’s ability to lead the department.

Fairow had been appointed interim chief just six days earlier after then-Chief Sean Whent resigned. The resignation came after a local newspaper, the East Bay Express, discovered that three officers had allegedly engaged in sex with an underage girl — alleged statutory rape — who said she was working as a sex worker, according to The Guardian. The scandal may have involved at least 14 Oakland officers and eight officers from neighboring police departments having sex with the girl, whose mother works as a dispatcher at the department, according to the report. The scandal also includes allegations that officer Brendan O’Brien may have killed his wife in a death that was ruled a suicide but called “suspicious” by the coroner.

Local reports said that Whent was pressured to step down by a federal official. Police officers implicated by the allegations could face possible sexual exploitation and human trafficking charges, one district attorney indicated, according to BuzzFeed News. “While it is our practice not to discuss pending investigations, I can firmly state that we do not and will not turn a blind eye to human trafficking or the sexual exploitation of a minor, whether the offender is a civilian or a law enforcement officer,” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Thursday in a statement.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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