OAKLAND (KCBS) – Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Whent said the department made mistakes in the handling of the initial protest the night of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
At an Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday night, Whent said that, in hindsight, he would have done things differently the night of July 13. That’s when some downtown Oakland businesses were vandalized at the end of the first protest over the George Zimmerman verdict.
“What happened that evening really was largely an intelligence failure,” Whent said.
He said the police department has been better prepared since, but the cost of officer overtime so far could be around $200,000.
“It’s unfortunate we have to dedicate staff to do this when there are obviously a lot of other things going on in the city,” said Whent.
Some critics at the meeting said the police department needs to do a better job of monitoring social media to learn about upcoming protests.
“I think it should have been obvious to anybody that we were going to see a large protest in Oakland,” said one critic at the meeting.
But others said there’s only so much the undermanned police force can do.
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