Oakland, California’s police chief was already in hot water but now the email filter he demanded may very well cost him his job. The department has been under fire since October 2010, when at an Occupy Oakland rally they shot an Iraq War veteran in the head with a tear gas canister, gravely injuring him, and then threw a so-called “flash-bang” explosive into the crowd that was trying to help him. Several lawsuits were filed and the department has been under investigation. Next month hearings will be held to decide if the department should be placed under federal supervision.
Police chief, Howard Jordan couldn’t have cared less. He ignored every email sent to him about the case, including several critical ones sent by investigators, and said his email filter was to blame. He explained that after the Occupy Oakland rally he had demanded his IT department would set up a filter that would mark any email that contained phrases such as “police brutality” and “Occupy Oakland” as spam and immediately send it to the trash. He said he did this because he didn’t want to be bothered with emails from the public. Unbelievably, after admitting to the filter he said he was sorry important emails had gotten blocked but wasn’t sorry he had the filter set up.
It’s not clear why the folks who contacted him via email and got ignored didn’t try calling him or sending a letter through the postal system, but given the attitude this police chief has, chances are he would have ignored or evaded those too.
This is definitely a case when having an email filter can cause you more problems than it solves. They are great for blocking spam and helping you organize your inbox, but not such a good idea if you are trying to avoid doing your job or answering to others for NOT doing it.