Oakland, CA – For the safety and well-being of all our residents, this afternoon the City of Oakland declared a local emergency and issued a curfew order effective tonight from 8 pm to 5 am until further notice. The curfew does not pertain to emergency services personnel; people traveling to work or home, or to receive medical assistance; the news media; or unsheltered residents.
Over the weekend, as cities across the country imposed curfews in the wake of peaceful protests that have been hijacked by violence and looting, Oakland leadership and law enforcement alike agreed that imposing a curfew would be a last resort. As a city with a long and proud tradition of peaceful protest, Oakland has resisted using tools that have historically been used to oppress.
Following several peaceful protests, the weekend nights turned violent and destructive. Oakland and our neighboring East Bay cities experienced widespread looting, arson, and shootings. This violence was not a first amendment expression of outrage over police brutality. It was opportunistic chaos and widespread criminal activity across Oakland and the East Bay.
After 10 weeks of sheltering in place, our business community is suffering. Ongoing looting and vandalism threatens the survival of our small businesses, many of which are owned by people of color.
“With heavy hearts, we now believe that a curfew is necessary to protect our community, our residents, and our businesses from further violence and vandalism,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We did not make this decision lightly, and we are mindful that a curfew is a serious tool that has been used by American governments as a tool of oppression and racial bias. We are committed to implement this curfew in a way that is reflective of our city’s principles and focuses our resources on those who are harming our community.”
A curfew will allow peaceful protests to continue during the day and allow our law enforcement officers to be more nimble and agile in focusing our public safety resources where the violence is happening at night.
Mayor Schaaf was joined at a press conference this afternoon announcing the curfew by Vice Mayor Larry Reid; City Councilmembers Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Noel Gallo, and Loren Taylor; Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer; Violence Prevention Chief Guillermo Cespedes; and local business owner Ali Obad.
We remind the community that Alameda County has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in the Bay Area, and is disproportionately affecting our communities of color, with Black and Latino residents getting sick and even dying at 2-3 times the rate of other groups. The City of Oakland urges people to stay home and stay safe.
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