Oakland mayor pushes for highway cameras after fatal shootings, but faces budget limbo

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Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Oakland mayor pushes for freeway cameras amid deadly shootings
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ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena questioned Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf about what's being done to stop the fatalities on city highways.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Three days after the latest fatal highway shooting in Oakland there's renewed push for highway cameras.

The freeways are the jurisdiction of the state but city officials can push for changes. ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena questioned Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf about what's being done to stop these fatalities.

CHP data shows 144 highway shootings in Bay Area freeways in 2021.

The latest shooting took the life of UC Berkeley Hall of Fame basketball star Gene Ransom on interstate 880 in Oakland on Friday.

VIDEO: Son of former Cal athlete killed in I-880 shooting remembers his dad

Terry Wiley, Chief Assistant District Attorney for Alameda County grew up hearing about Ransom. Now Wiley is prosecuting this case.

"This is a man who spent the last 20 years of his life trying to keep kids off the streets away from gun violence and he is gunned down," said Wiley.

In the last nine months, five people have been killed in Oakland freeways. Before Gene Ransom, David Nguyen was killed on I-580.

Luz Pena: "One of your recruits was killed a month ago and here we are again. What has changed?"

Nothing has changed," said Greg Ahern, Sheriff Alameda County.

RELATED: Sister of Oakland freeway shooting victim sends heartfelt plea to leaders amid rising violence

We went to Alameda County searching for answers. Without highway cameras the District Attorney's office depends on dashcam video for evidence.

"There is nothing we can do other than to get cameras on the freeways that allow for 24-hour recording of anything that occurs on the freeway and outside of that we have to rely on traditional methods to solve crimes," said Wiley.

We questioned Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf about her plan to combat crime and add highway cameras. She pointed to a letter she sent to Governor Newsom in December.

Luz Pena: "What came out of that letter?"

Mayor Schaaf: "The governor did commit to working with the legislature in looking at this as a budget proposal for the upcoming budget. But we will not see another revise budget until May and that is when we will have more information to what extend this request is being met."

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Meaning there likely won't be any change until the summer.

Luz Pena: "Are you calling Governor Newsom asking for something to happen even sooner before the budget?"

Mayor Schaaf: That is certainly my desire. No one can wait for more safety and I'm also respecting the budgeting process. If we are going to see significant change they have to be part of the budget process."

Alameda County Sheriff Ahern is not waiting for the state budget. He's advocating for highway cameras now.

"How is your office pushing for this? We are going to make a very vocal statement to the state. We are going to talk to the state sheriff to see if we get some support from the state sheriff's association and work with our law enforcement partners," said Ahern.