Oakland Mayor Schaaf defends actions of officers in fatal shooting

- OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said evidence from Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting that left a 24-year-old man dead showed officers acted appropriately because the suspect posed a threat to the public.

A witness to the incident also told KTVU officers had no choice but to shoot. Jada Green said she was standing outside near 27th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way with her 13-day-old goddaughter in her arms when the armed robber suspect failed to put down the gun he was holding.

“If he would have dropped the gun, he would still be here today,” Green said of the suspect. “He ran in the street. He could have put the gun down. We were all like, ‘Drop the gun, drop the gun’.”

Green said she is not defending police, but felt they were left with no other choice.

“For the first time, I could honestly say they did what they were supposed to do,” she added.

Three officers who fired their weapons were wearing body cameras and recorded the incident. Mayor Schaaf said she had not seen the footage, but spoke with Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent who said there was strong evidence to support the officer’s actions.

“The evidence that we’ve reviewed to date shows very clearly an imminent, lethal threat,” Schaaf said. “We take all use of force very seriously in Oakland and I will make sure our processes that we’ve put in place to independently review these types of incidents are absolutely followed, but that is what the current evidence has suggested.”

Schaaf also commented on the vandalism that resulted from a Wednesday night protest following the officer-involved shooting. A window to a Starbucks at Oakland’s City Center was smashed out.

“That is something that really angers me as the mayor,” she said of the broken window. “I am very committed to ensuring that people, property and the right to assemble are all respected in Oakland.”

Schaaf said controlling the Wednesday night protest was a challenge because it was a spontaneous protest and the city’s resources were limited by the fact that a large number of officers were involved in the investigation of the officer-involved shooting.

At the scene of the crime, a woman named Linda Grant, said there must be a way to prevent officer-involved shootings from happening altogether.

“This is getting ridiculous,” Grant said. “There has to be another way to subdue criminals than to shoot and kill. We’re not understanding that and the community is enraged right now.”

On Thursday, Oakland Police had yet to release the identity of the suspect, but said the coroner’s preliminary autopsy report showed the man died from gunshots wounds and that the bullets entered the front of the man’s body.

A spokeswoman for the department said video from body cameras and other details will be withheld to protect the integrity of the investigation.

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