We may live in a city where the layoff of 80 police officers is going to result in a department that refuses to come to your house when you get robbed or your car is stolen, but that doesn't mean Oakland police have slowed down in asking the public for help. OPD's media team just released a set of photos of looters from the July 8th disruptions that happened after an evening of mostly peaceful demonstrations after the Mehserle verdict was announced. The request for help is below–basically, if you make a match between someone you know and a person in these photos, you get a $1,000 reward if your data helps lead to a conviction.

Is this innovative crowd-sourcing, taking advantage of digital technology to catch law-breaking, police laziness or cyber-snitching in your view?  And did the OPD take all these photos themselves–or are the majority of them scooped up from photographers who didn't get asked for permission–maybe because of those police cutbacks?

Here's the album–and the ask:


“On July 8, 2010, Oakland Police Officers initiated an investigation into the looting and vandalism that occurred in the downtown area after the Mehserle verdict was announced. Investigators discovered that there were multiple pictures taken during the event of the people looting and stealing items from businesses.
The Oakland Police Department needs to identify the people in the photographs and are asking for the public’s help. There is a reward (up to $1,000) for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
The investigations are continuing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department tip line at (510) 777-8814.
For more information, please contact the Media Relations Office at 510.238.7230 or

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local (oaklandlocal.com) a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including Salon.com, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.