More than half a dozen police officers with assault rifles convened in front of an East Oakland voting location on Election Day.
The seven Oakland officers spent nearly two hours Tuesday in front of Bancroft Middle School, the voting location for many Mills students. They were responding to an assault and battery call one block away.
Inside, voters were not discouraged by the incident going on outside. “It didn’t affect my coming here,” said Carleene Hardy, a local Oakland resident. “It made me curious with all the terrorist threats, I didn’t know if it was a bomb.” She added, “but it does my heart good that they’re in the neighborhood.”
Ironically, as police stood outside the elementary school’s cafeteria, voters were inside deciding on controversial measure FF, a proposal to hire 100 more police officers in an effort to curb the violence in the streets of Oakland.
If passed, the measure will cost the Bay Area $70 million to implement.
According to Oakland Police, Horace Owens, a neighborhood painter on assignment, was allegedly beaten and threatened with a gun by two men Tuesday afternoon.
The main suspect, the homeowner’s son, reportedly attacked Owens when he found him alone inside of the house.
Owens says he was simply taking a break with the homeowner’s permission.
Police said the suspect was a recent parolee and that he appeared to be high on drugs Owen, a resident of North Oakland, sustained no serious injuries, but reported being hit in the eye.
“This is just one of the 7,000 parolees on the street we have to deal with everyday,” said K. Clement, the officer in charge.
The officers and the victim gathered directly across from the poll area, one block away from the scene of the altercation in order “to optimize the officers safety and get a game plan before rushing in to apprehend a suspect that may have a gun,” said officer Clement.
The group spent nearly two hours loitering on the corner of 64th Ave displaying semi-automatic weapons while the sergeant did what Clement called intelligence work.
James Burton, a resident of the Burbank neighborhood, was not alarmed by the police presence. “You’ve gotta go street by stree,t” he said in reference.
“We’ve got bad elements on the other streets, but this is a quiet block.”
However, Burton reportedly saw a woman drive away from the voting location, discouraged by the police presence.
“I couldn’t blame her with all the guns and stuff,” said Jack Cvar, another resident of the street. “They should have took that around the corner.”
According to Clement, the suspect was apprehended at the corner of 64th Ave and Laird streets at 4:50 p.m. A neighbor videotaped the arrest on a hand held camcorder.