Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong’s withering criticism of the city council’s decision to strip the police department of $17-million from its budget is drawing some rave reviews from conservatives, who are applauding the chief’s common sense complaint that stripping the department of much-needed funds is going to exacerbate the already-rising crime rate. As my colleague Bryan Preston at PJ Media recently reported:
One council member said the city might experience “speed bumps” as residents and police adjust to new levels of funding and staffing. Chief Armstrong took direct aim at that statement after noting that Oakland had suffered four homicides in three days, bringing the city’s total for 2021 to 65 homicides. Armstrong said this is a 90% increase in homicides over 2020. Violent crime is up across the board in Oakland, according to the chief.
“We see clearly that crime is out of control in the city of Oakland,” he said. “I want to address a comment made by one of our city leaders during these budget meetings. It was referred to as a ‘bump in the road,’ a ‘speed bump’ that we would go through, a period where there would be speed bumps…Well for me, those speed bumps are 65 lives so far this year. Victims who have suffered at the hands of violence. Whether it’s shootings, robberies, carjackings, sexual assault, all of these crimes are not speed bumps. These are people.”
That’s true, but while conservatives may be tempted to sing Armstrong’s praises for daring to contradict the Oakland Police Department, they should keep in mind that LeRonne Armstrong has also said that those people who are now at a greater risk of being the victim of violent crime shouldn’t be able to protect themselves or others, at least not with a legally-owned and carried firearm.
Back in February, a business owner in Oakland’s Chinatown came to the aid of a woman who was being assaulted on the street, firing a couple of shots at the attacker before he ran away. The business owner ended up being arrested by Oakland police officers, and Armstrong defended the arrest in a press conference the following day, telling reporters that the city needed “good witnesses”, not armed citizens.
In his press briefing, the chief declared, “We don’t want our business owners or others to begin to arm themselves. We would really prefer them to be good witnesses.”
According to Armstrong, if you witness a woman being beaten and robbed outside of your store, you’re not supposed to intervene to stop the attack. Instead, you’re supposed to simply sit back and watch so you can tell police all about it after the fact.
“What we really don’t want to do is bring any additional issues that threaten safety into the equation,” Armstrong continued. “Having armed people out there tends to not be helpful. Officers sometimes have to determine who they’re trying to encounter and that also makes it unsafe for all of us. So while I appreciate those who have stepped forward and are looking to help our community members and be there and intervene, I think you can do that with your voices, you can do that with making phone calls to the OPD, but allowing us to come in and respond.”
I’ve got a simple question for Chief Armstrong on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. Now that the city council has stripped the police department of nearly $20-million, which you say will lead to an increase in crime and further strain the resources of the department, are you willing to finally acknowledge that the citizens of Oakland have the right to protect themselves with a firearm?
Something tells me that while the chief is opposed to defunding his department, he hasn’t had a change of heart when it comes to the city’s residents being able to protect themselves and others by exercising their Second Amendment rights. I’ll gladly applaud LeRonne Armstrong if and when he publicly endorses the right to carry a firearm in self-defense, and if he truly considers the city’s residents to be humans and not mere “speed bumps” on the road to progress, it’s time for some soul-searching on the Second Amendment in addition to critiquing the Oakland City Council.