Death toll climbs in Oakland; police investigate another homicide

Oakland police on Friday morning were investigating a homicide – the city's 128th of the year.

The victim was an "adult transgender person," police said. The victim was found at approximately 4 a.m. at Castro and 14th streets off Interstate Highway 980.

This homicide follows on the heels of a homicide last weekend when Eric Davis was killed by Lake Merritt while trying to stop a car burglary. The day before, security guard Kevin Nishita, died of injuries he sustained while protecting a news crew in downtown Oakland on the day before Thanksgiving.

It’s the highest number of killings in Oakland since 2012, when the police department reported 131 homicides.

On Thursday, Council Pro Tem President Sheng Thao proposed giving new police recruits $50,000 for agreeing to work in Oakland. 

Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and Mayor Libby Schaaf have argued that the police staff has too few officers and responds to more violent calls per officer than any other department in the country. 

Their call for more officers is controversial with many progressive activists, such as the Anti-Police Terror Project, who have been calling to "defund" police departments across the country, a nationwide movement born out of the death of George Floyd. 

"As some folks jump up and down demanding more police on the streets of Oakland, please stop to think of the impact it has on people like Lance," the group tweeted, about a man struggling to work after being incarcerated.  "Young people in Oakland should be offered jobs programs. Instead the Mayor is deciding to spend even more on cops."

Oakland police currently have 677 officers.