Law/Justice

Oakland Mayor Seeks to Reverse Police Cuts Amid Crime Spike

In a reversal of plans to divert funding from police to social services, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday that she’ll push to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and seek to quickly hire more officers amid a spike in violence and homicides that has left some residents afraid to leave their homes.

The mayor’s announcement came after a weekend in which three people were killed, including a retired police officer acting as a security guard for a television news crew, bringing the number of homicides to 127 so far this year.

To address the violence, Schaaf said she’ll ask the city council to reverse funding cuts scheduled to take effect next year, though she still supports diversion efforts.

“When those messages and services are not effective … the consequences must be swift and certain,” Schaaf told reporters Monday on a Zoom call. “There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence.”

Amid a nationwide movement to shift funding away from police budgets after the killing of George Floyd, the progressive Oakland City Council also voted in June to spend $18 million on programs that aim to prevent street crime and address homelessness.

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