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Oakland PD Sex-Crime Probe Backfires

The Oakland Police Department faced blowback after publicizing a surveillance image of two people, their faces clearly identifiable, who had been videotaped while engaged in a sex act in the spectator stands at an Oakland Athletics baseball game, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “OPD…focus on crimes that truly matter and affect the community,” one Twitter user wrote. Another user said, “The fact that opd is focusing on this is an insult to everyone in oakland.” Another wrote, “Oakland PD needs to focus on real crimes.” Cat Brooks, a police critic who ran for mayor in 2018, called the decision inappropriate and “gross.”

The episode began with an Aug. 21 tweet that included a long-distance video of two people in the top row of a mostly empty section in the upper deck of the Coliseum. Police confirmed the next day to tabloid TMZ that they had opened an investigation. A week-and-a-half later, on Wednesday, an up-close photo of the two people was released to KRON and emblazoned with an Oakland Police Department seal. Other media outlets around the Bay Area and the country published the photo as well. Department brass said that though the incident may not be violent or a high priority, it’s still a crime and must be investigated. “I have no idea why that’s a priority,” said Barry Donelan, the head of the police union, of the release of the photo. “Maybe ask the chief of police.”


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