Former senator Barbara Boxer was attacked and robbed in California: ‘How can you do this to a grandmother?’
An attacker robbed former senator Barbara Boxer near her homein Oakland, Calif., on Monday, shoving the
longtime lawmaker and snatching her cellphone before fleeing by car.
Boxer told KTVU that she was taking a walk through the Jack London Square neighborhood, as she often does,
when a young man stepped out of a black car and approached her. She said she tried to cross the street, but the
man slammed her across the back and took the cellphone she was holding in her hand.
“I said, ‘How can you do this to a grandmother?’ ” said Boxer, who served as a Democratic senator from
California. She added, “‘Why are you doing this?’ He could care less and got into the car and sped away.”
The former senator sought help inside a nearby Verizon store, KTVU reported. In a statement on Twitter, Boxer
said she was not seriously injured in the attack.
Boxer served as a senator for 24 years before retiring in 2017. Vice President Harris succeeded Boxer before joining President Biden’s ticket last year.
The Oakland Police Department confirmed in a statement shared with The Washington Post that an assault took place around 1:15 p.m., though it did not name Boxer as the victim. Police are offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the investigation. No suspect has been publicly identified.
The Jack London Square neighborhood is near downtown Oakland along the city’s waterfront.
Oakland’s rising crime rates, particularly the number of homicides in lower-income neighborhoods
disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have inspired an increasingly tense debate over how
best to prevent and address violence, the San Francisco Chronicle reported this month.
A TV news crew was reporting on a crime spike. Then robbers demanded they hand over their camera.
The attack on 80-year-old Boxer follows the Oakland City Council’s decision last month to cut the police
department’s budget by about $18 million in favor of funding social services and violence-prevention programs.
Some conservative commentators used the incident as an opportunity to criticize the idea of calling social workers to respond to low-level, nonviolent crimes instead of police officers.
“Well, let’s just hope she was able to give a good suspect description to the responding social workers,” Ann Coulter said on Twitter early Tuesday.
Oakland Police Chief Leone Armstrong spoke out against the budget restrictions, citing a sharp increasein the number of homicides between 2020 and 2021 to date. Recent stories of other violent crimes, including the attempted robbery of an NBC Bay Area news crew last month, have also raised concerns about crime in the city.
Supporters who backed the police budget cuts, however, pointed to the potential for alternative strategies to lower crime rates more effectively. Most of the money that was taken from the police budget instead went to funding a youth-employment program and alternative crisis responders to handle mental health issues. Instead of police handling traffic-related calls, employees for the city’s transportation department will address issues such as blocked driveways and illegally parkedcars.