The Oakland Police Department said it is allocating more resources and patrols to Chinatown ahead of Lunar New Year on Friday amid a “recent surge in violent assaults” over the last few months.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley on Monday announced charges against 28-year-old Yahya Muslim in connection with an assault on three people — including a 91-year-old man — in Oakland late last month, KTVU FOX 2 reported.
Video surveillance released by police shows a suspect assaulting the man, as well as two people ages 55 and 60, in the 800 block of Harrison Street on Jan. 31.
In the first assault, the 91-year-old man can be seen walking down the street when a suspect comes up from behind and aggressively shoves him to the ground. The man was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and treated received medical attention for his injuries.
Police said the suspect later approached a 60-year-old man and 55-year-old woman on the same street and pushed them from behind as they were walking. The woman lost consciousness and the man suffered injuries. Both received medical attention at a local hospital.
Muslim was arrested last week and is currently in custody at the Santa Rita Jail, KRON 4 reported.
Police also said they have a video showing another male suspect — identified as Deveion Lamont Byrd — robbing an 80-year-old woman of $200 and running away. Byrd is also the prime suspect in a string of other robberies at different businesses in the area, police said.
Another video from a recent assault shows a woman – described as a 70-year-old “grandma” – being robbed while coming home from the bank.
The assaults follow a general pattern of violence being committed against Asians – both residents and merchants – in Oakland’s Chinatown. The surge has led residents to call on local leaders and police to do more to quell the violence.
Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said during a press conference last week that young people have started carrying guns for their safety.
“So they’re also hurting people before they’re being robbed,” Chan said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf denounced the “intentional targeting” of Asian merchants and residents as “abhorrent.”
“We will do everything within our power and resources to put an end to it,” she said.
Newly sworn-in Oakland Police Chief Leronne Armstrong called the escalation of violence in Oakland “unacceptable.”
“Today, we’re sending a message to those who commit crimes in this city, that we will pursue you, and we will arrest you,” Armstrong said on Monday.
Despite the surge in crime, Oakland city leaders have for months called for defunding the police — a mantra that spread to major metropolitan areas nationwide last summer after the police custody death of George Floyd.
In December, the department made cuts that eliminated details that put extra officers in high crime areas, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association has blamed the City Council’s “defund the police” strategy on the city’s accelerated violent crime rate.
According to a report from Bay City News, Oakland recorded 15 homicides last month — the greatest number of killings recorded in January in 20 years.