A San Francisco trial attorney has been appointed to investigate why Oakland police officers are routinely getting their discipline reduced or overturned in arbitration hearings.

Edward Swanson, a partner at Swanson and McNamara, will have authority to review nearly every aspect of how police investigate officers for wrongdoing and how the City Attorney's Office handles the arbitration cases that arise when officers appeal punishments.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ordered the investigation last week citing a recent arbitrator's ruling overturning the termination of Officer Robert Roche who tossed a tear gas grenade at a group of Occupy Oakland protesters.

Henderson, who oversees the police department's court-sanctioned reform drive, wrote last week that the city's failure to make punishments stick would prevent police from finally completing the 11-year reform effort.

Henderson ordered the city Wednesday to deposit $25,000 to pay for the investigation. Swanson, who specializes in criminal defense and commercial litigation cases, will not be allowed to represent anyone suing the city.



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