If you're as baffled by the Oakland Police Department situation as I am, try this Slate explainer: The Oakland Police Department Mess, Explained
The story starts with a young Oakland police officer named Brendan O’Brien. O’Brien joined the department in 2013 and was married to a woman named Irma Huerta Lopez, who died in June 2014 of an apparent suicide. A little over a year after Lopez’s death—on Sept. 25, 2015, to be exact—O’Brien shot himself. The suicide note he left behind triggered the series of events that brought us to where we are today.
Well, actually, after we get through a lot more explaining, it turns out that no, the story doesn't actually start there.
The agreement—known formally as a consent decree—was the result of an earlier scandal, which centered around a group of four officers who called themselves the “Rough Riders” and were accused of beating, robbing, and planting evidence on people while they were on patrol in West Oakland.
Moreover, it appears that it's not just about Oakland, either.
According to ABC7, there have also been investigations opened in at least six other area police departments. And according to the Bay Area News Group, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent review
It's going to take some time to figure out.
I'm not sure if you can really call this an "explainer" if, in the end, there seems to be more that is left unexplained than is explained.
But thank you, Slate, for at least giving it a go.