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Police End Stephon Clark Protest in East Sacramento With Arrest of 84 People
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50293"><span class="small">Benjy Egel, Dale Kasler, Sam Stanton, Ryan Sabalow and Tony Bizjak, The Sacramento Bee</span></a>   
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 09:28

Excerpt: "What began as a relatively mellow Stephon Clark protest outside a Trader Joe's supermarket in East Sacramento turned into a spectacle as more than 100 riot police arrested 84 protesters and detained a Sacramento Bee reporter Monday night."

Protesters took to the streets after Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced over the weekend that two officers - Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet - would not face charges related to the fatal shooting of Clark. (photo: IGD)
Protesters took to the streets after Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced over the weekend that two officers - Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet - would not face charges related to the fatal shooting of Clark. (photo: IGD)


Police End Stephon Clark Protest in East Sacramento With Arrest of 84 People

By Benjy Egel, Dale Kasler, Sam Stanton, Ryan Sabalow and Tony Bizjak, The Sacramento Bee

05 March 19

 

hat began as a relatively mellow Stephon Clark protest outside a Trader Joe’s supermarket in East Sacramento turned into a spectacle as more than 100 riot police arrested 84 protesters and detained a Sacramento Bee reporter Monday night.

About 100 protesters, organized through The Table Sacramento, started marching shortly before 7 p.m. in opposition to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s recent decision not to charge the police officers who shot Clark in his grandparents’ backyard last March. Clark, 22, had been holding a cell phone police thought was a gun.

On Monday, the trouble started when a Tahoe Park resident named Dan Iverson arrived at 40th and J streets in a “Make America Great Again” hat and quickly found himself facing several angry protesters. The protesters shouted Clark’s name at Iverson and blew whistles before stealing the hat off his head. Iverson, who came to the protest with his teen daughter, said he was shocked at the reception.

“I know, I know — why did I come down here wearing the hat? Because — to see what would happen,” Iverson said. “This is supposed to be a freedom of speech rally.”

Riot police moved in slowly, batons elongated, before the situation diffused. Around that time, police said, protesters keyed at least five cars in Fab Forties neighborhood.

That and other vandalism caused the police to herd protesters back to Trader Joe’s and instruct them to disperse or face pepper spray, stun guns and/or arrests. Black activists such as Berry Accius and Sonia Lewis later disputed that any vandalism occurred.

Sacramento Bee photographer Hector Amezcua was pushed to the ground by an officer’s baton and had his equipment damaged during the move back. Once in the vicinity of Trader Joe’s and having given instructions to disperse over megaphones, police detained six people on suspicion of unlawful assembly, spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler said.

About two-thirds of the group then moved to the 51st Street overpass over Highway 50, where they found themselves facing police officers on both sides of the bridge. As police continued to call for them to disassemble, the group yelled back that they had nowhere to go because they were boxed in by officers.

Police then began handcuffing people on the bridge in plastic twist ties, including Rev. Shane Harris of The People’s Alliance for Justice and South Sacramento Christian Center pastor Les Simmons. Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler, who had been live-streaming the protest on Facebook, was handcuffed and detained for about an hour before being released.

Several other media members yelled that Kasler, who was wearing his media credentials on a lanyard around his neck, was not a protester. He told the detaining officer himself, he said, but it made no difference.

“I held up my press credentials and said, ‘I’m a reporter for The Bee,’ and this guy said ‘Okay’ and took me off,” Kasler said. “They said, ‘When doing mass detention, these kinds of things, we don’t pick and choose. Everybody goes.’”

Bee publisher Gary Wortel and executive editor Lauren Gustus called Mayor Darrell Steinberg after learning of Kasler’s detention, and Steinberg pushed privately for the officers to release him from custody. Steinberg expressed his displeasure with the police force’s handling of the rally and how long it took Kasler to be released in a phone call with The Bee.

“I’m very disappointed with the way this ended. But I want to withhold judgment until I ask some serious questions in the morning. These are important questions,” Steinberg said. “It’s a reporter doing his job. This is extremely troubling to me.”

Many of the other detainees were transported to Cal Expo, where dozens of well-wishers greeted them with food and water as they trickled out of police custody after midnight. Some protesters would be released with citations, Chandler said, while others could be arrested and jailed.

Harris, who flew up to Sacramento with Clark’s girlfriend Salena Manni after Schubert’s decision Saturday, said it was the first time he had ever been detained.

“It’s pretty traumatizing, but at the same time, it’s what black and brown men go through across the country every day,” Harris said. “This is not going to stop my fight for justice. I’ve been fighting with this family since the very beginning and I’m committed to standing up for them.”

More protests could be on tap Tuesday. The Black Lives Matter Sacramento Facebook group has called for an occupation of the Sacramento Police Department on Tuesday afternoon. The Sacramento City Council meets Tuesday night and activists have protested at their meetings in the past.

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+6 # engelbach 2019-03-05 11:42
This is good. I'm glad to see so many people outraged and making their anger known in the streets.

If more people who claimed to be disgusted with the murder of innocent, unarmed black citizens and other injustices committed by police and government were to take to the streets, there would be a massive uprising that might be able to bring about some measure of change.

Unfortunately, there are just too many arm-chair liberals who back off from any form of confrontation with the authorities and have the delusion that the police can reform themselves.
 
 
-6 # WorkingClass 2019-03-05 13:44
As harsh as this is going to sound your "innocent" citizens had been working very hard to evade police. Jumping over fences and running through back yards. He was in his what turned out to be his Grandmother's driveway when he saw the two officers. If he had surrendered rather than run around the corner of the house into the backyard there is a very good chance he would still be alive. I have watched the video from both the officers personal cameras and from the helicopter numerous times. Here are my observations. There was a report of car prowling called in. The helicopter spotted a suspect jumping fences has he ran through back yards to evade responding police. The officers pursued the fleeing suspect and as they rounded the corner of the house the suspect was seen on the patio. Within mili-seconds the officers thought they saw a gun and they shot the suspect who was facing them. The lighting was not all that good. Very tragic reality is police have to make a judgement in mili-seconds. They do not have to wait to see the muzzle flash of a gun being fired at them. Did the police act reasonably? They are given the benefit of the doubt. They weren't out hunting for someone to shoot. The suspect had been running and jumping fences - why? This is a sad situation but you can't blame two cops for wanting to go home to their families.
 
 
+1 # rl2014 2019-03-06 05:57
Well, Working Class, what you have said would be true in another society. As it is, the reality is that many police DO hunt and murder Black men or just kill Black men when they find them vulnerable. Many white nationalists join the police with the intent of hunting us. That is why the FBI is finding so much collusion between the extreme right wing/"White nationalists" and the police in California and elsewhere. As it is, most African American men innocent or not are terrified of the police - in the present environment. I am not at all convinced that he would still be alive had he surrendered to the police. Especially since he was running at night for some reason. As an American of African descent, I believe it is l likely that they could have used that mere fact to murder him. All they need is probable cause to kill us in the US. You might get stopped or arrested for probable cause, we could easily be killed. Especially, if he is a young Black man and I believe many Americans of African descent can understand why he might believe that he should run for his life to his grandparents house for support and protection. It's angering to me that anytime a Black person is holding a shiny object in such situations his being shot dead is OK, when I read of countless cases where Whites are actually carrying guns and rifles in confrontations with police and the police proudly talk of their de-escalation techniques and no one ends up dead.