This week, the Oakland police quickly instated, then revoked, a new policy requiring officers to report any illegal gatherings in warehouses, in response to last December’s tragic fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse
The order initially came Thursday afternoon from Acting Police Chief David Downing, according to an email obtained by CBS SF Bay Area. The wording of the email was such that all warehouse parties must be reported to superiors.
The directive read: “Effective immediately, any member of OPD (sworn and civilian) who encounters an unlawful or unpermitted gathering (such as a rave, party, cabaret) or an unpermitted living space/structure within a warehouse, shall send an email message before end of shift […]”
But by Thursday evening, the directive had been retracted by City Administrator Sabrina Landreth: “We are in the process of developing communication protocols within the Oakland Police Department. The email sent at 1:57 p.m. to OPD personnel was distributed prematurely and has been retracted.”
The warehouse fire at Ghost Ship on December 2 left 36 patrons dead, the deadliest music-venue-related death in the U.S. since 2003. Documents obtained by NBC Bay Area showed that police had responded to the space in 2015, but city officials said that inspectors hadn’t been inside the building for 30 years. Though recently released documents showed that police were aware of what was going on in the warehouse, no reports were made on the condition of the structure.