Barbara Boxer assaulted and robbed of her cellphone in Oakland.
Barbara Boxer, a former United States Senator, was assaulted and robbed of her cellphone in Oakland on Monday afternoon.
Boxer, 80, a Democrat who served in the United States Senate from 1993 to 2017, told The Times she was robbed while walking near her apartment near Jack London Square. Boxer, who is now employed by Mercury Public Affairs, stated that she purposefully chose a quiet street in order to concentrate on a work call.
Boxer stated that she noticed a young man following her out of the corner of her eye but was unconcerned until he hopped into a car.
“Then the driver of the car jumped out and began charging at me and following me, and I knew I was in big trouble at that point,” she explained. “When I saw the guy emerge from the car and charge at me, I began running across the street. And with one hand, he pushed me hard on the shoulder, and with the other, he wrapped it around my waist and grabbed my phone. He took off running toward the car. I stood there trembling and simply said to them, 'Why would you do that to a grandmother? I need to contact my grandchildren.' He jumped into his car and accelerated away.”
Boxer stated that she was so close to her home that she fled to her apartment, where she and her husband, Stewart, dialed 911.
“I told police this was so obviously planned; they were looking for someone who was extremely vulnerable,” she explained in the interview. “It was all so meticulously planned, and the guy clearly knew what he was doing. He smacked me so hard. He never spoke a word. I would have given my phone if he had said, 'Give me your phone or else.' He was not required to shove me.”
In response to questions about the assault, Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Johnna Watson said a person was robbed at 1:15 p.m. in the 300 block of 3rd Street. According to Watson, the department will not identify the robbery victim in an email.
According to Watson, the Oakland Police Department is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.
After reporting the robbery to police, Boxer and her husband went to a nearby Verizon store, where employees were able to wipe the data off her Apple iPhone and, most importantly, ensure that the pictures of her grandchildren were saved to the cloud, the former senator said.
“It was shocking and unforeseeable. You simply cannot imagine that happening,” she stated. “It jolts you.”
Allegations that she was injured are false.
“I want to be clear — he pushed me hard, but I did not fall,” she stated, adding, "I was not seriously injured." I was simply stunned.”
Boxer asserted that she has never felt unsafe in the neighborhood in which she and her husband have lived since 2005. “Never. Not for a single moment,” she stated. “That is what made it so shocking.”
Boxer stated that she did not get a clear view of their faces, but her attackers appeared to be young, possibly teenagers.
“I adore Oakland, I truly adore it, and I am heartbroken,” she stated. “Because really, going after a five-foot-tall grandmother with gray hair walking down the street and conversing on the phone? They were unaware that I was a senator.
“To me, it encapsulates everything I've accomplished,” Boxer added. “We require effective policing, we require extensive community policing, and we require, without a doubt, hope and opportunity for young people. These are young people who discover they can sell their phone for a substantial sum of money, hundreds of dollars.”
Boxer reacted angrily to supporters of a recall campaign for Governor Gavin Newsom and Republicans who would point to this incident as evidence of rising crime under Democratic leadership.
“Democrats have no intention of privatizing law enforcement,” she stated. “They want more effective policing, more equitable policing, community policing, and additional resources to deal with these incidents as they occur while also addressing the root causes.”
Democratic politicians' desire to undermine the police, she said, is a "false flag." It is simply untrue.”
Boxer noted that she has founded community policing initiatives and after-school programs throughout her career.
“We need a multipronged approach to this — excellent community policing and extremely harsh consequences for children and adults who do the wrong thing.”
The former senator also intended to use the incident to send a message to the Oakland Athletics, who are rumored to be relocating.
“I also want to take this opportunity to say that I would personally send a message to the Oakland A's — this is the neighborhood you're about to enter, and it has the potential to be absolutely wonderful,” she added. “I live a few blocks away; this area has so much potential. Oakland is my favorite city. This shocked me, but it only strengthened my resolve to fight for what could strengthen this community.”