The Oakland Police Commission has taken over two months to present Mayor Sheng Thao with a new slate of candidates for the chief-of-police role after she rejected the last one and — guess what! — one of the latest candidates was one of the rejects from the earlier slate.

Without knowing what's going on behind closed doors at the Oakland Police Commission, all one can surmise is that some number of the commissioners were unhappy with the termination of former Chief LeRonne Armstrong, and that they continue to want to goad or annoy Mayor Thao into a fight.

As KTVU reports, the commission has now put forward a slate of four candidates, one of whom is San Leandro's recently resigned/removed police chief Abdul Pridgen, who was among the December slate, which also included Armstrong, that Thao already rejected. And in Pridgen's case, given the city's already precarious position vis a vis the ongoing federal monitoring of the police department, Thao had pretty good reason to reject his candidacy the first time — he's been under investigation for unclear reasons of misconduct in San Leandro and was on administrative leave from the job until he fully stepped down last week.

The other three names are new on this latest slate of candidates, and they include former Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell; Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Lisa Davis; and Louis Molina, New York City's former Commissioner of the Department of Correction and current Assistant Deputy Mayor of Public Safety.

Of the remaining three, assuming that Pridgen is a no-go, Davis is the only one who appears to come with little professional baggage. Davis, a Navy vet who has served in the Cincinnati PD for 30 years, has been passed over for the chief job there multiple times, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and has been putting herself on the market in other cities, including Toledo, which has been searching for a new chief.

Floyd Mitchell is no longer the chief of the Lubbock, Texas police department, apparently following a scandal last summer involving over 30,000 911 calls that went unanswered. Mitchell resigned in September, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, following a city council meeting and "a lengthy executive session he was the subject of."

As for Molina, he was referred to as New York City's "embattled jails leader" in an October New York Times piece about his move to a new role at city hall. The city's long troubled Correction Department, whose troubles predate Molina's tenure, is under federal monitorship, like Oakland's PD, and Molina was accused of trying to hide a number of in-custody deaths in 2022 — a year when 19 men died in jail at Riker's Island, up from 16 the previous year. This led to a fallout with the federal monitor, and a federal judge threatening to strip the city of control of its own jails.

While New York Mayor Eric Adams characterized Molina's move to the role of Assistant Deputy Mayor of Public Safety as a promotion, per the Times, it's fairly clear what happened here.

So what is the Oakland Police Commission's angle on all this? Are they loading a slate of four candidates with three obvious "nos" so that they ultimately are doing the anointing of the next police chief? Or is there something else at work here?

The commission is scheduled to hold a community meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to introduce the four candidates to the public. All four candidates will answer questions, which can be submitted here.

Mayor Thao's office has only said, "Mayor Thao looks forward to receiving the list of finalists and conducting her due diligence in reviewing the candidates."

It has been over a year since Oakland has had a permanent chief of police after Armstrong was first placed on administrative leave and then removed from the job amid an internal affairs scandal. Supporters have argued that Armstrong did nothing wrong and should have been reinstated, but Thao declined to reinstate him — and sources have previously revealed that Thao expressed in private that her hands were tied by the federal monitor situation.

Previously: San Leandro Police Chief Steps Down Amidst Investigation, So He Likely Won’t Be Oakland Police Chief