People who’ve e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn’t get much of a response.
That’s because he used a spam filter to dismiss messages sent to him with “Occupy Oakland” in the subject line, according to a federal court filing Monday. Same goes for the phrases “stop the excessive police force,” “respect the press pass” or “police brutality.” Instead of landing in his in-box, those messages went straight into his junk mail folder, which he apparently never looked at.
Because of those filters, Jordan missed e-mails from other city officials and a federal court monitor, who oversees the department’s compliance with court-ordered reforms stemming from a police abuse scandal.
Robert Warshaw, the monitor, had sent Jordan an e-mail with the subject line “Disciplinary Actions-Occupy Oakland.” Jordan told the court on Oct. 18 that he never saw those e-mails, infuriating Thelton Henderson, the federal judge in San Francisco who appointed Warshaw.
Henderson will hear arguments in December about whether to place the Police Department into the hands of a federal receiver, which Oakland officials believe is unprecedented. Henderson was perplexed as to why Jordan could be missing such vital messages and on Oct. 18 ordered the city to investigate.
The city investigation found that Jordan had city staff put in the filters on Oct. 27, 2011 - two days after a violent clash between police and protesters that made international news. He had been inundated with anonymous messages, he said in a declaration to the court.
But he forgot the e-mail filter was still in effect.
At least until Henderson gave his order and the city investigated. All messages to Jordan with the once-banned phrases now go to his inbox, as of Oct. 19. In addition, Jordan now has a special folder for messages from the court monitor, Warshaw.
“It was never my intention to ignore the monitor,” Jordan said in his declaration.
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