Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf called the people responsible for damaging a courthouse and other buildings over the weekend “agitators,” while urging demonstrators against becoming violent.
“Vandalizing our downtown gives Donald Trump the images he wants and the justification he seeks to send federal troops into American cities,” Schaaf said in a statement sent to news outlets on July 26. “We can’t be fooled and play into his twisted campaign strategy.
“We celebrate passionate protest but Oaklanders need to know that when they attend protests after dark, they may be providing cover for agitators who are more intent on stoking civil unrest than advancing racial justice.”
Oakland police officials also said that “agitators within the crowd of demonstrators” were the ones who set the Alameda County Superior Courthouse on fire on July 25.
A police station, the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, and a Citibank branch were among other buildings damaged by rioters.
“Some within the crowd of 100s of demonstrators vandalized the police station. Breaking windows, spray painting, shooting fireworks and pointing lasers at officers and helicopters,” the Oakland Police Department said in a separate statement. The crowd hurled projectiles at officers.
Photographs of the aftermath of the rioting showed the outside of the courthouse sprayed with graffiti, including anarchist symbols, “kill judges and prosecutors too,” and “ACAB,” which stands for “all cops are [expletives].”
A set of glass doors was also smashed.
Some 700 people took part in the gathering, which police called a protest. Several people were arrested.
Because of the continuing violence in urban areas, the federal government has moved officials and agents to try to protect federal buildings and crack down on criminal elements.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, mentioned Schaaf’s city while speaking with reporters last week.
“Well, I’m going to do something—that, I can tell you,” he said, when asked about the spike in crime in cities. “Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these—Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.”
Along with the Democratic mayors of the other cities singled out by the president, Schaaf said she doesn’t welcome federal assistance.
Trump on July 22 announced he was sending assets to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico. As many as 75,000 federal officers and agents could be moved to cities to combat violence, he said later.
Federal agents have already deployed in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
Rioting took place in a number of cities over the weekend. Many of the gatherings were organized by groups linked to Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist group, or to Black Lives Matter, a group that’s pushing to defund or abolish police departments across the nation.
Jack Phillips and Janita Kan contributed to this report.