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NBC Bay Area news crew held up at gunpoint during interview about Oakland crime

Midway through NBC Bay Area's interview with Oakland's head of violence prevention Guillermo Cespedes, two robbers interrupted, holding up the crew and Cespedes before a security officer with the news crew pulled out his own firearm and commanded the robbers to leave.

The incident took place Monday afternoon, shortly after Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong decried a city budget that reallocated an extra $18 million away from police out of a proposed police budget of $674 million. Those funds will be put into the city's Department of Violence Protection, helmed by Cespedes, who joined the department in 2020.

The department was formed in 2017 with a focus on "community-led intervention strategies" for violent crime prevention. The $18 million allocation was proposed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, reported the East Bay Times.

Oakland has seen 65 homicides so far this year; there were a total of 74 in 2019 and 102 in 2020.

Cespedes confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle that he was at the scene. (SFGATE and the Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another.)

Representatives with NBC Bay Area and Oakland police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from SFGATE. No one was harmed in the incident.

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