Oakland Police deny that they simply stood by and allowed looting to occur during a protest after the conviction of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle earlier this month.
Some Oakland merchants say they were left to fight off looters by themselves during the July 8th chaos, despite hundreds of cops nearby. Assistant Oakland police chief Howard Jordan says that’s simply not true.
“I felt that we did a really good job of minimizing the damage,” he said.
But Jordan admits the acceleration of the unrest took him by surprise.
Captain David Downing, who was in charge of the OPD’s response that night, says he can’t send in officers to arrest looters until he’s sure they’re contained to a specific area and until it’s safe for the cops.
Police officials also deny that radio issues kept different agencies from communicating, saying their backup communications plans worked perfectly. They added that they’ve learned a few lessons and plan to improve their response if there’s trouble when Mehserle is sentenced in November.