OAKLAND, Calif. June 30 2021 Robbers held up a television news crew at gunpoint Monday in Oakland as they were interviewing the city’s director of violence prevention, authorities said.
The crime outside City Hall was just hours after the police chief slammed a move to cut the department’s budget by $18 million and redirect the funds in an effort to support alternatives to law enforcement.
The news crew was filming around 3 p.m. when two armed suspects tried to take their camera, the Oakland Police Department said in a statement.
A scuffle broke out and a private security guard, contracted by the news agency, pulled out his gun and told the robbers to leave.
The suspects fled without the camera and no one was hurt, police said.
The crew was interviewing Guillermo Cespedes, head of the city’s Department of Violence Prevention at the time, the police department confirmed.
Less than three hours beforehand, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong denounced the City Council’s cuts to his department. Much of the funds will be diverted to the Department of Violence Prevention, which was created in 2017 with the goal of decreasing homicides by 80% over three years, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The city has recorded 65 homicides so far in 2021, the newspaper reported, which is almost twice the number counted at this time last year.