September 26, 2022


Joshua Stickney, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 405-315-4151

Ashley Chambers, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 510-285-8227

Ella Baker Center Statement on Paid Demotion of ACSO Deputies After Internal Audit

Oakland, CA – The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights released the following statement after the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) relieved 47 deputies of their law enforcement duties in light of an internal audit.

“The fact that ten percent of the active deputies working for ACSO received failing psychological exams dating back to 2016 is disturbing. Even more horrifying is that the Sheriff’s Office has known about this for so long and did absolutely nothing except turn a blind eye and cover this up at the expense of the general public and incarcerated individuals,” said Ella Baker Center Organizing Director Jose Bernal. “This further highlights the egregious levels of dysfunction and corruption that have plagued the sheriff’s office for years. When the Ella Baker Center, our partners, and thousands across Alameda County called for an audit of ACSO back in 2018, we already knew the harm that had been caused by Sheriff Ahern and his office – a blood trail of in-custody deaths, disastrous handling of COVID-19 at Santa Rita Jail, and the targeted, over-policing on our Black, Brown and low-income communities. Nearly five years later and millions of county tax-payer dollars poured into ‘reforming’ the sheriff’s office and the results have only been catastrophic.” 

The Ella Baker Center has repeatedly called for transparency and accountability of the Sheriff’s Office, which has a long history of human rights abuses, neglect and poor conditions inside the county jail. Since 2014, there have been over 50 in-custody deaths inside Santa Rita Jail – including the lives of Dujuan Armstrong, who died while in custody in June 2018, and Christian Madrigal, who died while in custody in June 2019. In 2018, the Ella Baker Center organized with families who have lost loved ones inside Santa Rita to demand a full, transparent audit of the Sheriff’s Office, however the Board of Supervisors neglected to take action.