A Bay Area television news crew was held up at gunpoint while interviewing Oakland’s director of violence prevention — just hours after the city’s police chief warned of surging crime.
Two armed robbers tried to snatch a camera from the NBC Bay Area journalists as they filmed outside City Hall on Monday at around 3 p.m., the Oakland Police Department said in a statement.
A scuffle ensued and a private security guard — who was contracted by the news agency — pulled out a gun and told the suspects to scram.
The would-be robbers fled without the camera and no one was hurt, police said.
The brazen stick-up attempt took place during an interview with Guillermo Cespedes, head of the city’s Department of Violence Prevention, according to cops.
Less than three hours earlier, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong had held a press conference slamming a move by City Hall to cut the department’s budget by $18 million.
Much of those funds would be diverted to the Department of Violence Prevention, in an effort by Oakland officials to back alternatives to policing, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Armstrong said that it was more crucial to increase police funding amid a spike in violent crimes. The cuts could lead to delayed police responses to 911 calls, he warned.
Oakland created the Department of Violence Prevention in 2017 with the goal of decreasing homicides by 80 percent over three years, according to the report.
The city has recorded 65 homicides so far in 2021 — nearly twice the number counted at this time last year.
With Post wires