(KRON) — Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao pushed back on suggestions that crime in Oakland had increased as a result of the mayor’s firing of Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong earlier this year. Last week, the NAACP published a letter directly tying Oakland’s recent crime surge to the firing of the chief.
“Since Armstrong was fired, ‘the City of Oakland is in the throes of a crime wave that has reached alarming proportions in 2023,'” the NAACP wrote, citing the Oakland Police Officer’s Association.
OPOA stats cited by the NAACP included:
- Over 2,000 robberies, a 24% increase
- More than 400 carjackings, a 16% surge
- Over 10,000 burglaries, a 42% rise
“The situation has escalated into a public safety crisis that demands immediate attention,” the OPOA said.
“Armstrong was an extraordinary chief who was exactly what Oakland always wanted. He was a person of color, grew up in Oakland, knew the city and worked well with people from different cultures. He did an exemplary job of bringing constitutional policing to the city, while reducing crime,” the NAACP wrote.
Mayor Thao dismissed the idea that the firing of the chief, who was fired after being placed on administrative leave, had contributed to the city’s recent alarming spike in crime.
“I took the step that was necessary to keep us on the path of needed reforms while we work to make our community safer,” Thao said. “I think it does a huge disservice to our hardworking officers. The many officers that show up day in and day out, no matter how hard it is, no matter the limited resources that are given to them. And to say that one person gets credit for the work of everyone in the department — that is bogus.”
“We have a great leadership team there now and we are all working together for a stronger Oakland,” the mayor added.
The mayor also addressed the city’s ongoing vacancy at police chief, saying that while she’d like to appoint one “immediately,” that there is a process in which the police commission must first identify the top three candidates.
“The process is underway,” Mayor Thao said. “I’m hopeful that we can get a new police chief by the end of the year.”
Watch KRON4’s Stephanie Lin’s entire interview with Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao in the video above.