Police agencies in the Tri-Valley braced for potential looting attempts in local communities amid similar cases around the Bay Area during the weekend. No incidents had occurred in the Tri-Valley as of late Sunday night.
The Alameda County Office of Emergency Services urged all residents to stay home and avoid travel unless necessary on Sunday night due to "civil unrest" -- recorded and rumored -- in the East Bay.
Tri-Valley police were in the field protecting specific retail locations, as well as having extra patrols in general, in response to tips alleging coordinated looting to occur Sunday night locally. Local agencies also reported taking notice of what happened in nearby Walnut Creek late Sunday afternoon, when targeted looting struck downtown involving culprits who didn't reference any attempt at protest.
In Pleasanton, police blocked off all five entrances to Stoneridge Shopping Center and encouraged people to stay away from the area on Sunday night, citing "credible threats of looting" at the local mall. Rumors of residential neighborhoods being under threat Sunday were unsubstantiated, Pleasanton police said.
Similar police presences occurred at the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore on the past two nights, as well as at the Target in the city Sunday, according to social media reports from residents.
Dublin Police Services took it a step further, issuing a statement Sunday evening imploring residents to "please stay home tonight" while alerting of an increased police presence in the city on Sunday night "to protect residents and businesses."
No coordinated looting incidents had been confirmed in the Tri-Valley as of 11 p.m., but a couple of dozen looters broke windows and stole some merchandise from stores in downtown Walnut Creek, namely in the Broadway Plaza. The Walnut Creek incident on late Sunday afternoon appeared to be a case of targeted looting.
Alameda County Emergency Services followed with this statement around 8:20 p.m. Sunday: "All Alameda County residents are advised to stay home due to the civil unrest reported throughout Alameda County and the greater East Bay Area. Unless personal travel is necessary, we are recommending residents stay home due to the high number of police actions.
"Currently there are multiple reports of large, mobile groups of rioters and looters traveling throughout the East Bay Area. Travel on highways and freeways may be difficult or restricted as multiple road and freeway exit closures are expected."
The heightened police presence and looting threats locally also come as peaceful protests are being scheduled and promoted in Tri-Valley cities this week, starting on Monday afternoon in Dublin.
Sunday appears an emblematic start to the new week in a nation gripped by protests, riots and lootings in the aftermath of the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes despite the man's pleas that "I can't breathe," including almost three minutes while Floyd was unresponsive, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to authorities and national media reports.
Three other officers at the scene with Chauvin have also been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department, but they have not been criminally charged to date. The officers were reportedly trying to arrest Floyd for allegedly using counterfeit cash at a store.
Footage of the deadly encounter, which was captured on video by bystanders, had gone viral by the next day and sparked concern and outrage across Minneapolis and most of the nation. Initial peaceful protests inspired by Floyd's death escalated as four days passed before Chauvin was arrested and charged.
Protests -- civil and uncivil -- have taken place in cities small and large across the United States during the past several days, influenced by Floyd as well as the deaths of other unarmed African Americans by police hands.
Some protests have been peaceful, some have resulted in clashes with police or dissenting citizens, and some have morphed into riots destroying vehicles, damaging buildings and raiding stores. There have also been incidents of apparently opportunistic looting unrelated to any protest.
The largest Bay Area cities -- San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco -- experienced seemingly each scenario in recent days. But the Tri-Valley communities avoided any serious threats, until Sunday evening when concerns about potential local lootings and reaction to the Walnut Creek incident came to the forefront.
"I know that this is a very frightening and stressful time, but we must all work together to get through this," Danville Police Chief Allan Shields said in a post on social media Sunday.
"We are following what is happening in Walnut Creek, and want you to know that we have brought in extra personnel to patrol the Town, provide support in Walnut Creek this evening and to watch for any spread of the activity from Walnut Creek," Shields said.
"I ask that you remain calm at this time, but be alert to your surroundings. If you see something that looks suspicious or dangerous, please do not engage. Call 911 immediately, and leave the area," he added.
Danville later instituted a curfew, from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
The San Ramon Police Department said on Twitter, "We are aware of and actively monitoring the current events in our region. We have increased our staffing to ensure the safety of our community. Please only contact our dispatch center if you are involved in an emergency."
Pleasanton police started the evening by saying, "Due to credible threats of looting, all 5 entrances leading to Stoneridge Mall are CLOSED. Please avoid the area and continue to shelter in place. We're aware this is also happening in neighboring communities and will keep you updated."
An hour later, the department said, "There is misinformation about non-residents intending to target residential neighborhoods and this remains UNVERIFIED. We have no reason to believe this is credible and ask #Pleasanton residents to return home. We increased patrols to help keep our city safe."
Meanwhile, Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris released a statement Sunday night directly addressing Floyd's death.
"Like so many of you, we were shocked and saddened after watching the video of the officer from the Minneapolis Police Department kneeling on the neck of George Floyd during an arrest that ended in his death," Harris said.
"We want our community to know that the actions taken by the officers on that video were wrong, are not how we train or what we expect from our officers and in fact go against what wearing the badge represents," he added.
"LPD sends our condolences to the Floyd family and to all who have been impacted by this tragedy and we remain committed to service with honor and protection with purpose," Harris said.
Dublin police, before the county alert went out, urged their city's residents to "PLEASE STAY HOME TONIGHT."
"We are aware of continued protests and looting in and around the Bay Area. Dublin Police Services will have a significant presence Sunday night to protect residents and businesses," Dublin police said, adding:
"The city is also tracking a planned protest tomorrow, beginning at Emerald Glen Park and moving to the intersection of Dublin Boulevard and Dougherty Road. Police Services will be onsite to provide peaceful management of the event and to ensure the safety of participants, the general public, and businesses. Road closures may be necessary around the protest events at or around 3:30 p.m."
Organizers have promoted on social media a peaceful protest to run from 2-3:30 p.m. at Emerald Glen Park on Monday, followed by a march to the intersection of Dublin Boulevard and Dougherty Road -- which the protesters plan to occupy for an eight-minute moment of silence "to represent the amount of time George Floyd was suffocated."
"Please remain PEACEFUL no matter what occurs, and wear a MASK. We will adhere to Social Distancing rules as best we can. TriValley #showup," they said.
A "Pleasanton Unity Protest" has been scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. outside Amador Valley High School.
And advocates in the San Ramon Valley have tentatively set a protest for Friday, including a march to San Ramon City Hall, though an official starting time and location have not been confirmed.
A protest also occurred in downtown Livermore, without incident, on Sunday afternoon.