Federal officer killed by gunfire outside U.S. courthouse in Oakland
A Federal Protective Service officer was fatally shot and another officer was critically injured outside a U.S. courthouse in Oakland during a protest Friday night over the killing of George Floyd, a shooting that officials described as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
The officers were keeping watch over the protest when the shooting occurred, authorities said, but it was not immediately clear if the incident was directly related to the unrest.
Federal officials said Saturday that the shooting was part of “an outright assault on our law enforcement community” and suggested that it fit into a larger pattern of extremist groups hijacking peaceful protests to commit acts of violence.
“Let me be clear: When someone targets a police officer or a police station with an intention to do harm and intimidate, that is an act of domestic terrorism,” Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security, said at a news conference.
A vehicle pulled up to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building at 1301 Clay St. at about 9:45 p.m., and someone inside the vehicle fired gunshots at the contract security officers, the FBI said in a statement.
One officer was killed and another was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. No arrest was reported.
The Federal Protective Service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, oversees the protection of buildings owned or leased by the General Services Administration.
The FBI’s San Francisco Bureau and the Oakland Police Department were investigating the shooting.
Federal officials described the incident as part of a wave of violence against law enforcement officials that also saw several Secret Service agents injured during a protest outside the White House on Friday night as people threw rocks and urine at them.
“The protesters committed these acts of violence while hiding behind their 1st Amendment right of lawful protest,” said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS officials said their personnel were taking “an enhanced posture” in a number of U.S. cities in response to the demonstrations, including stepping up protective efforts at federal buildings.
“This department stands ready to protect the American people and our employees during this difficult time using every legal means at our disposal,” Cuccinelli said.
Earlier Friday night in Oakland, demonstrators blocked the 880 Freeway as they protested Floyd’s killing. The 46-year-old black man died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck while detaining him on suspicion of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store.
Cellphone video of his arrest outside the business shows Officer Derek Chauvin driving his knee into the Floyd’s neck as Floyd pleads that he can’t breathe. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. Three other officers who were at the scene were fired.
The killing has sparked protests across the country, with some incidents of looting and vandalism.
In Minneapolis, thousands of National Guard troops were expected to hit the streets Saturday night to prevent further destruction after crowds on Friday surrounded a police precinct, broke windows and looted businesses amid fires and random gunfire.
In Los Angeles, police arrested more than 500 people after protests led to a night and morning of vandalism and looting on the streets of downtown L.A. The LAPD spent much of Friday night and Saturday morning trying to clear the streets as people smashed windows, stole items from stores, clashed with police and set items, including at least two LAPD vehicles, on fire.
In Oakland, 22 people were arrested after protesters smashed windows, sprayed buildings with anti-police graffiti and were met with chemical spray from police. Sixty more people suspected of looting were detained for further investigation, Oakland police said Saturday.
Authorities said officers were injured when projectiles were thrown, and they were asking people to leave the area. Six Oakland police officers suffered injuries, as did seven members of other agencies who responded to assist, according to preliminary figures released by Oakland police.
The demonstrations started out peacefully but became violent later in the evening, interim Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer said in a videotaped statement early Saturday.
“As we have seen across the country, we saw damage and destruction here in the city,” Manheimer said.