84 people, including a pastor and two journalists, were arrested during protests in Sacramento. Now the mayor wants answers.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the City Council are demanding answers about the arrest of 84 people, including a pastor and two journalists, during protests Monday night.
The demonstrations were held in response to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s announcement that there would be no charges filed against two officers who shot and killed unarmed 22-year-old black man Stephon Clark last year. The DA’s announcement — as well a subsequent decision by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — has deeply divided the Sacramento community.
Schubert and Becerra both said the facts surrounding the shooting preclude a criminal filing. You can read more about the circumstances surrounding Clark’s death here.
Outraged community members gathered to protest the decision in an affluent East Sacramento neighborhood Monday. Following reports of vandalism to automobiles, police ordered crowds to disperse. The arrests of more than 80 people followed.
The city has since asked the City Office of Public Safety Accountability to investigate the arrests. The mayor wants to know the rationale behind officers’ order to disperse, whether the protestors were allowed to leave once the order was given, and how members of the press got wrapped up in the arrests.
“I want to guarantee the right of peaceful protest and freedom of the press while simultaneously protecting public safety,” said Steinberg.
The police department is also conducting an investigation.
Tensions in the city continue to mount. A City Council meeting Wednesday devolved into profanity-laden chaos, with members of the community railing against what they say is a lack accountability for law enforcement and a dearth of justice for African Americans killed by police.