Small business owners support embattled Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong

Oakland small business owners back suspended police chief LeRonne Armstrong

Oakland small business owners back suspended police chief LeRonne Armstrong


OAKLAND — Small business owners say they support suspended Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and want him back on the job.

Small business owner Linda Lei, who runs a New York Life insurance office at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, said she believes things have gotten better under Armstrong’s leadership.

“Chief Armstrong was very quick response to place police patrols in Chinatown, and I was surprised he was on administrative leave,” Lei said.

She shared a video of the chief speaking to a citizen patrol group called the Blue Angels this past summer about their partnership in deterring crime.

He told the group: “We are here for you, we are your partner, but you are part of our response to the crime in Chinatown. Chinatown is a safer place to shop because of you, thank you for what you have done.”

Lei said Armstrong added more police officers on foot and in police vehicles after a wave of thefts, robberies, and brutal attacks on the Asian American community during the pandemic.

She’s been volunteering multiple times a week with the Blue Angels for the last two years.

“When we are patrolling and also have police officers around the corner, we feel more [safe],” Lei said. “And sometimes we have something, we can report to the police right away.”

Lei fears a change in leadership may make the Chinatown community more vulnerable.

this past week, KPIX reported on multiple break-ins at small businesses like Wawa Thai Food. After a break-in in early December, the same thing happened in January.

Asha Tea House recently shared video of their third burglary in less than a year.

“Kinda scary, you know, so that’s why we want Chief Armstrong to come back to serve our community,” Lei said.