OAKLAND (BCN) — Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that protesters who blocked city streets and freeway off-ramps Wednesday night in the area where police officers fatally shot an armed robbery suspect earlier in the day posed a staffing challenge for the city’s Police Department.
“The impromptu protests that often arise after situations like this are always challenging to staff and that was compounded last night by the number of officers who were tied up as witnesses or who were involved in the (shooting) incident,” Schaaf said in a statement.
However, she said, “We remain firmly committed to using our existing polices to protect people, property and the right to peaceful assembly.”
The protesters gathered near the corner of 27th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where police said a 24-year-old suspect in an armed robbery on July 27 crashed his car after a police pursuit that had begun in East Oakland at about 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.
The suspect then allegedly tried to carjack another vehicle and advanced toward officers with a stolen 9mm semiautomatic handgun in his hand. Three officers shot the suspect, an Oakland resident who was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later, police said. His name hasn’t yet been released.
“The current evidence shows that the individual fled his vehicle on foot, armed with a gun and attempted to carjack another vehicle in the same area, and after a foot chase still had a gun in his hand as he approached officers,” Schaaf said.
“We take all uses of force seriously. I am actively making sure that the protocols and supervision we’ve worked hard to put in place are being rigorously followed as this shooting is thoroughly investigated,” the mayor said.
Schaaf said, “We are in the middle of a national conversation of dire importance about justice and how it is administered in our country. Lives are on the line.”
She said, “As a progressive city with a deep commitment to social justice, Oakland has been at the forefront of this movement, both in terms of adopting 21st century policing practices and speaking out about the injustices that have occurred nationally.”
Schaaf said, “Given what is at stake, as a community we have an obligation to acknowledge and work to correct the wrongs of the past and the legacy they have left behind. At the same time we must resist the urge to judge every new set of circumstances on anything other than the facts at hand.”