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The mayor of crime-ridden Oakland in California dodged interview questions about how the city missed a grant application deadline to help deal with rising theft amid sky-rocketing crime.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao danced around the topic during an interview with NBC Bay Area about how the city managed to miss the opportunity to get $267 million in funding – leaving city residents infuriated.
It comes as a horrifying new video shows the latest brazen attack on the city’s streets – where a screaming woman was violently mugged by two masked robbers who yanked her to the ground and dragged her along by her purse.
Throughout Thao’s car crash interview on Thursday, the mayor avoided taking accountability for the missed deadline for the cash and referred all answers to the city administrator, Jestin Johnson – who Thao herself appointed in May.
‘The city administrator manages the whole city, all the departments and so he would be the key person to actually connect with around information around this topic.’
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao blamed the City Administrator for missing a crime fighting grant deadline during a recent interview
Disturbing surveillance video shows the moment a woman was mugged and dragged down the street in Oakland, California
When asked if this is emblematic of how her city is run, Thao dodged the question again saying, ‘That is a question for the City Administrator.’
Johnson’s office said in a statement that they are ‘reviewing everything that happened to ensure it does not happen again,’ and ‘obviously this outcome is unacceptable.’
Thao was roasted on social media for her lack of accountability, with one user saying: ‘I keep watching this clip in disbelief.
‘The cowardice as a leader to throw your direct report (who you appointed) under the bus is astonishing. This is like a CEO saying, “sorry the GM messed up our product launch, ask him what happened…” How did they think this was the right response strategy? Oh yeah, incompetency at its finest.’
Another said: ‘You can surely hold people accountable but never throw your team members under the bus. That creates a toxic culture focused on mere survival. That’s not what Oakland needs in this moment. The mayor is the mayor. The buck literally stops with her.’
California has been plagued by growing crime since the COVID pandemic. Smash and grabs, armed robbery and motor vehicle theft has caused many small and local businesses to shut down.
In the latest daylight attack caught on a resident’s security camera, the two robbers jumped out of a car parked on the side of the street to attack their female victim from behind.
The pair tried to grab the bags she was holding in each hand after she had left a nearby grocery store.
The woman began to scream as she struggled with the assailants before she was knocked to the ground. Eventually a man across the street ran over to intervene but the suspects drove off with the woman’s belongings.
‘Apparently they had grabbed at her two bags, and she held onto her purse, so they dragged her on the sidewalk for about 10 to 12 feet and into the street,’ a witness told NBC Bay Area.
‘I couldn’t believe the violence of what they were doing to this woman, just for her purse, and the brutality of it just shocked me.’
The Oakland Police said it a statement that an investigation into the incident – which was reported by NBC on September 18 – is still ongoing.
The vicious attack is not the first of its kind. Just a month before similar video came out of Oakland showing a woman being pistol-whipped and dragged across gravel during a robbery.
In August, a woman was pistol-whipped and dragged by two assailants in Oakland during an armed robbery in an eerily similar attack to the one
Crime reports from the Oakland Police Department show that aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft is all up this year.
The Oakland chapter of the NAACP has called for a state of emergency over soaring crime and put blame on Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and anti-police rhetoric.
In a letter they wrote, ‘Failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our District Attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life threatening serious crimes, and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have created a heyday for Oakland criminals.’
Oakland cops have warned residents to take increased measures to protect themselves and their homes during this crime wave.
In a Facebook post the police department warned thieves have grown more brazen, even breaking into homes when the owners are there.
They advised reinforcing doors with a security bar, installing security systems with motion detection and even trimming hedges and shrubs so there are no potential hiding spots.
Aggravated assault is up 12 percent this year to date, robbery is up 31 percent, burglary is up 40 percent and motor vehicle theft is up 51 percent.
One Oakland restaurant owner blamed auto burglaries and crime in the area for why he has been forced to close his restaurant that had been open for 38 years.
Customers have said they can’t drive to the restaurant because it costs too much to get their car windows fixed after eating there.
Lifelong Oakland resident Kristin Cook made the decision to move with her son because of rising crime
Residents of California’s Bay Area are experiencing a new wave of crime that involves ‘pirates’ sneaking up on dinghies and stealing items from boats in the harbor
Kirstin Cook, a lifelong Oakland resident, was forced to move because she is ‘too scared’ to go outside.
Cook, 48, cried, ‘I can’t take it anymore. I got to the point I was too scared to leave my house.’
Even the waters are no longer save as ‘pirates’ have taken to using dinghies to sneak up on boats and rob them.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to distribute over $267 million in grants across the state to help combat organized retail crime, the largest-ever investment of its kind.
‘With an unprecedented $267 million investment, Californians will soon see more takedowns, more police, more arrests, and more felony prosecutions,’ said Newsom.
After the city missed the application deadline in July, legal review by the California Board of State and Community Corrections determined ‘the City of Oakland did not meet the necessary requirements for a successful application submission and will therefore, not be eligible for funding consideration.’
Members of the NAACP met with community leaders at the Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland to discuss why the city missed the grant deadline, reports ABC 7 News. Some implying the city might have missed the deadline intentionally.