The Oakland Police Union has found an unusual bedfellow – the lawyers suing the city saying the police force is incompetent and unable to function without federal assistance.

The union filed a critique of their command structure, saying that the failings of the department rest with the leadership. The move was designed to drive distance between rank-and-file officers and the commanders who could be replaced by a federal receiver.

According to the filing, the department brass has been ineffectual in the six years since the federal courts ruled that the department must reform or be placed in a receivership. The critique cited cases of overturned dismissals, inappropriate reprimands, and resistance or stubborn rejection of reforms as examples of why blame for the department’s continued shortfalls rests entirely with the commanders.

The move is viewed by some as a way to find a new friend with a potential receiver, who would have the authority to make personnel decision ranging from discipline to pay to benefits. Others saw it as a way to put pressure on the city.

The case will come before a federal judge on December 13.

Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle.