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City begins investigation into Berkeley police chief's actions

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MARCH 16, 2012

After the chief of Berkeley Police Department sent an officer to a reporter’s home in the middle of the night to request a change to a story, the city of Berkeley announced Friday that it has launched an investigation into the contentious incident.

Berkeley interim City Manager Christine Daniel, the direct supervisor of Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, said in a statement Friday morning that the city has retained the firm of Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai to conduct an investigation into Meehan’s actions on March 8 and March 9. Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai is a law firm based in San Francisco.

Meehan came under fire last week when he sent the police department’s spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss to the home of Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley at 12:45 a.m. on March 9. Oakley had written an article about a town hall on March 8 where Meehan had spoken, and Meehan felt that Oakley had portrayed him inaccurately. Local news blog Berkeleyside reported that Meehan tried to call and email Oakley after the article was filed but could not contact him, so he sent Kusmiss to Oakley’s home to ask for the changes to be made.

Daniel said in the statement Friday that she could provide no further information about the investigation at this time.

Soumya Karlamangla is the city news editor.

MARCH 19, 2012

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