Peaceful Protest Marred By Oakland Police Department Response / Bay Area Officials Press Ahead With Police Reform
Peaceful protests over the police killing of George Floyd and systemic racism continue around the Bay Area this week. Just a few hours ago, protesters walked along the entire strip of the Great Highway in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district, marching and chanting. Yesterday, a demonstration drew thousands to downtown Oakland.
Around 4:00 p.m. Monday, protesters gathered in front of Oakland Technical High School on Broadway. Tupac blared on loudspeakers as they prepared to march in memory of George Floyd and against police violence. The group, organized by Oakland students, began to make their way down Broadway and soon swelled to fifteen thousand according to police estimates.
The crowd marched to Frank Ogawa Plaza and listened to speakers on the steps of Oakland City Hall. Protestors dispersed after the program and many made their way up Broadway, in the direction of the school.
A smaller group continued down Broadway, toward the Oakland Police Department headquarters and were met by police. Around 7:45 p.m., officers announced the city’s 8:00 p.m. curfew.
Minutes later, the police fired tear gas at the remaining protestors and arrested approximately forty.
Tuesday morning, in an interview with KCBS Radio, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff described the protest as mostly peaceful and a "powerful and beautiful demonstration around our wish for a most just world."
Health officials are saying if you attend a protest, be sure to wear a mask and try to stay six feet apart. And, if you want to get tested for coronavirus in San Francisco, two free testing sites opened up in the Bay View and Sunnydale this week. To find out more, you can go to SF.gov/GetTestedSF.
Both local and statewide government officials pressed ahead with police reform efforts yesterday amidst nationwide protests over the police homicide of George Floyd, as well as systemic racism.
A San Francisco Board of Supervisors subcommittee rejected two candidates nominated by Mayor Breed to serve on the police commission, which sets police policy and imposes discipline against officers. It also has an oversight role in any reforms.
The two supervisors voting against the nominations implied that the nominees were too close to law enforcement to be effective advocates for reform.
The nominees are local prosecutor Nancy Tung and Geoffrey Gordon-Creed, a former deputy city attorney in private practice. To be appointed, they now need six votes from the full board of supervisors.
Meanwhile, also on Monday, District Attorneys Chesa Boudin, of San Francisco and Diana Becton, of Contra Costa signed a letter by a group of DAs asking the State Bar to ban District Attorneys from accepting donations from police unions, citing potential conflicts of interest.
And public health authorities are worried there could be a spike in coronavirus cases as thousands of people march in protests that have forced some virus testing centers to close or close early. The officials said they support peaceful demonstrations, but urged participants to wear facial coverings and keep distance from each other. They said they’ll know in several weeks if the events led to more cases.
Some Bay Area counties are continuing to reopen their economies as planned. For instance: Santa Clara County will allow multiple activities to resume, including in-store retail shopping, outdoor dining, childcare, and summer programs, as well as religious activities. These updates will go into effect on Friday, June 5.