The home of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was vandalized on Tuesday, just before she voted ‘no’ on diverting some law enforcement budget amid protests over police brutality and the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The message ‘Wake Up Libby,’ was spray-painted on a wall in front of her property in California and on the garage door were phrases including: ‘Defund OPD,’ ‘Drop the charges, ‘Cancel rent,’ and ‘homes for all’.
Witnesses say 30 to 40 people dressed in black and wearing masks shot projectiles, set off fireworks and defaced the house around 2am.
Images obtained by ABC News also showed ‘blood on your hands’ graffiti on a sidewalk near the home. There were reportedly other tags that contained expletives.
The home of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was vandalized on Tuesday, just before she voted ‘no’ on diverting some law enforcement budget. She is pictured in January 2018
On the garage door were phrases including: ‘Defund OPD,’ ‘Drop the charges, ‘Cancel rent,’ and ‘homes for all’
The message ‘Wake Up Libby,’ was spray-painted on a wall in front of her property in California
Police are now investigating the incident at the home of Schaaf, a Democrat.
‘An attack at the home of a publicly elected official does not advance democracy,’ Schaaf’s spokesperson, Justin Berton, said in a statement.
‘This attack, designed to intimidate the Mayor and strike fear into her family, will not stop her from advocating for the policies she believes are in the best long-term interests of her beloved hometown.’
Soft toys and a sign stating ‘Black Lives Matter’ appeared in the window.
Schaaf agreed last month that police officers should be replaced by public officials with better experience and training to respond to traumatic scenes that have nothing to do with law enforcement.
However the Democrat decided to vote against redirecting some police funds, because the council had already redirected ‘an unprecedented $14.3 million from OPD.’
‘We are excited, as many cities are, to reimagine public safety and that means not just to reform the police, but to replace the police with more trauma-informed and care-based, community-led responses that really don’t warrant a badge and a gun,’ Schaaf said on Monday.
The sidewalk outside her home featured the tag ‘blood on your hands’ on Tuesday
Schaaf agreed last month that police officers should be replaced by public officials, however the Democrat decided to vote against redirecting some police funds, because the council had already redirected ‘an unprecedented $14.3 million from OPD’
‘We have a full Department of Violence Prevention led by a social worker but who carries the exact same title — chief — of equal stature to our police chief…
‘And these are community-based medics and clinicians that respond to mental health and other appropriate, non-law-enforcement-type needs,’ she added.
‘To have a different kind of response to send out to these 911 calls is something that I believe we all are going to migrate to, and even faster because of the current demand from our communities.’
But this month tension has risen after President Donald Trump sent the military to the Portland, Oregon to protect federal buildings amid civil unrest. Masked troops in unmarked vehicles have been detaining people off the streets without reading them their rights.
Despite criticism from the ACLU and public officials who say the action only sparks more unrest, on Monday Trump threatened to send troops to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore, after calling Oakland ‘a mess’ and pointing out that the cities he was focused on are ‘all run by liberals.’
Those cities also all appear in the top 10 cities over 100,000 people with the highest percentage of African American people, except Oakland.
Half the population of Oakland was African American in the 1980s but with gentrification is expected to drop to 16% in several years. Within California, the black population is only second to Los Angeles, which does appear in the top 10.
People have complained it’s no longer affordable and with the pandemic shutting down the economy, the graffiti also called for rent to be canceled.
After Trump said ‘we’re not going to let this happen to our country’, Schaaf called his comments a ‘racist dog whistle.’
‘Oakland needs COVID relief – not troops – from our President,’ Schaaf said on Monday. California is now the worst affected state in the US with 467,261 cases reported by Thursday. In Oakland’s Alameda County 9,869 cases have been reported.
‘He should stop slandering diverse, progressive cities like Oakland in his racist dog whistles and divisive campaign tactics.’