A rally has been called for Tuesday in front of Oakland City Hall to demand the resignation of the chair of the Oakland Police Commission among other commissioners.

In a letter dated June 2, Oakland’s Coalition for Police Accountability, an organization made up of Bay Area residents and nonprofits, asked commission chair Tyfahra Milele to resign by June 8.

Tyfahra Milele is chairperson of the Oakland Police Commission. (City of Oakland)

The coalition alleges that Milele committed “breaches of conduct,” including violating the Enabling Ordinance, Charter Section 604, Measure S1 and the Police Commission’s Code of Conduct.

Charter Section 604 established the Oakland Police Commission and the Community Police Review Agency. It set out various guidelines for the commission, such as its functions and duties, conditions of commissioner appointments, terms, vacancies and removals, staffing, budget, investigations and adjudication.

Measure S1, which the coalition said it introduced and helped draft, amended the Charter Section 604. In efforts to bolster police accountability, the measure established an Office of the Inspector General which has the responsibility of carrying out independent investigations of the Oakland Police Department. The measure was on the ballot in Alameda County in 2020 and was approved by 81 percent of voters.

The coalition claimed that Milele interfered with the inspector general’s duties outlined in Section 604 per the Measure S1 revisions by instructing current inspector general Michelle Phillips to attend specific meetings and refusing two mediation requests by Phillips. This prompted Phillips to file an Ethics Commission complaint against Milele, according to the letter.

Asked about the coalition’s letter and the call for Milele’s resignation, Phillips said her focus “remains providing efficient and effective civilian oversight of the Oakland Police Department via the Office of the Inspector General.”

Alleged lack of transparency

The coalition also criticized Milele in the letter for what they deemed her “lack of transparency.” They allege that Milele submitted a budget on behalf of the commission to the city of Oakland without sharing it with commissioners, despite requests from commissioners asking her to do so. The coalition also alleges that Milele scheduled a budget forum after an official budget presentation took place.

“Transparency is absent when there is no review or feedback provided in advance of the official presentation,” the letter reads.

The letter also called into question Milele’s role in the investigation of Oakland Police sergeant Michael Chung, who was put on leave in 2022 following findings of alleged misconduct. Milele did not direct the Oakland Community Police Agency to investigate Chung, the coalition alleged in a previous letter sent to the chair. Instead, she convened a discipline committee. Per Charter Section 604, a discipline committee — which the coalition claims is not qualified to act as an investigative body — must only be convened after the Community Police Agency completes their investigation.

This concern was brought to Milele and the commission’s attention in a letter from the coalition in February of this year, which they said did not receive a response.

“Transparency is absent when there is no review or feedback provided in advance of the official presentation.”

Coalition for Police Accountability letter

The coalition also said that the chair failed to subpoena necessary records related to the Chung case, which hindered the commission’s ability to act as investigators.

In addition, the coalition wrote that Milele attempted to undermine the will of voters who passed Measure LL in 2016, a measure which first established the Police Commission and the Community Police Agency that passed with 83 percent in favor. By suggesting that the commission shift to a board-of-directors model, the coalition said, Milele is going against the measure which solidified the structure and organization of the commission.

While the coalition is demanding that Milele step down as chair, they are not urging her to be removed from the commission altogether, but request that she stay on as a commissioner.

Milele’s term is set to end on Oct. 16, 2023.

Milele did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Bay City News staff writer Keith Burbank contributed to this story.

Lydia Sidhom is a rising third-year at UC Berkeley studying Data Science and Political Science. She is a Dow Jones News Fund intern for Bay City News. Lydia was a lead beat reporter, deputy news editor and projects developer for The Daily Californian and will be a deputy projects editor there this fall. She enjoys telling stories through data. In her free time, Lydia loves to read, bake and travel.