Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s (D) home was vandalized and spray-painted with radical demands and messages early Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours before the city council was expected to vote on even more cuts to the local police department’s budget.
Justin Beton, a spokesperson for the mayor, described the vandalism in a statement to KCBS radio, and referred to the illegal actions as not helpful for advancing democracy.
“Around 2 a.m. vandals shot projectiles at the Mayor’s home, set off fireworks, and graffitied her home with paint. This attack, designed to intimidate the mayor and strike fear into her family, will not stop her from advocating the policies she believes are in the best long-term interest of her beloved hometown,” said Beton.
“Like all Oaklanders, she supports passionate protest but does not support tactics meant to harm and terrorize others,” he continued.
KRON-TV reporter Chuck Clifford posted pictures of the vandalism on Twitter, and some of the demands and messages included “Defund OPD,” “Cancel Rent,” “Homes For All,” and “Blood On Your Hands.” A Black Lives Matter poster can be seen in her window.
— Chuck Clifford (@chuckclifford) July 21, 2020
Schaaf, who has previously argued that police departments are necessary, cast the deciding vote against the $2.75 million budget cut.
Ahead of the final vote, however, Schaff pointed out that the Oakland city council voted in favor of a $14 million budget cut to the police department back in June, and also expressed support for re-imagining the role of policing, reports Mercury News.
“As you’ve heard from our finance director and our chief of police, any further cuts, real cuts to the police department will require a significant reduction to our widely recognized inadequate 911 response, elimination of current police service, as well as further strain on what is well-documented as an understaffed police force, having the lowest officer-per-crimes staffing of any department in America,” said Schaaf.
“I know we all support reimagining public safety and advancing racial justice — council has already committed to doing just that — but I believe that Oakland must create a new system of public safety and justice based on real numbers that do not mislead the public about the impact of the cuts or whether or not they actually can be accomplished,” she said.
According to SF Gate, a “study is now underway, with researchers auditing 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls to better understand where funding may be best directed. Further defunding could result in potentially freeing up to $150 million for other efforts.”
The Oakland police department budget is approximately $300 million, reports KCBS radio.
Barry Donelan, president of the police union, told KCBS that he was worried about the impact future budget cuts will have on the ability to keep Oakland safe amidst a current increase in crime.
“Saturday night there were a number of shootings around the city and three murders in 36 hours is a lot, even for us here in Oakland,” said Donelan.