COMMENTARY: Stephon Clark Vigil Turns Bloody, Sheriff’s Cruiser Mows Down Arthritic 61-Year-Old; CHP Refuses to Intervene

By Crescenzo Vellucci

SACRAMENTO  –  Twenty-two-year-old Stephon Clark has been dead now for more than two weeks, riddled with eight bullets shot by Sacramento city police officers – six of them in the back of the unarmed (except for a cell phone) young man. In all, they fired 20 shots at Mr. Clark.

The District Attorney of Sacramento County says she will investigate – she’s faced a series of rallies in front of her office that has closed it down parts of last week and will this week.

But most have no faith Anne Marie Schubert will do much of anything despite the political pressure, largely because she’s never charged a law enforcement officer with a crime and there have been a series of police murders and brutalizations over the past four years since she’s been in office.

And the Sacramento City Council and police chief have promised reforms. Good for political points.

Yet this past Saturday, at an uneventful vigil and march for Mr. Clark, violence reared its ugly head again. As usual, it wasn’t law enforcement in the cross-hairs. It was a resident. An unarmed resident. Again.

And, as of Monday evening, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol were promising to investigate. But no one’s holding their breath.

Sixty-one-year-old Wanda Cleveland was the victim this time, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother nearly three times Mr. Clark’s age. Unlike Mr. Clark, she’s not dead and maybe a little lucky. Banged up, but lucky.

As it turns out, Ms. Cleveland was marching in support of Mr. Clark and against his killers.

A particular focus of this vigil was the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept., whose chopper gave incorrect, and deadly, information to Sacramento City police officers on the ground two weeks ago, reporting from the air that the “suspect” had a tire iron. That alerted officers, who prepared for an armed suspect – they later killed Mr. Clark believing that. But the information relayed by the Sheriff’s Dept. was wrong. Mr. Clark was unarmed except for his cell phone.

Ms. Cleveland was, in effect, mowed down by a law enforcement vehicle Saturday – and you guessed it, it was a Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept. cruiser, which sped off after hitting Ms. Cleveland who had been crossing in front of the vehicle in full sight. It didn’t matter to the deputy driving. He or She “burned rubber,” slamming into Ms. Cleveland, knocking her into the gutter where she lay until she was taken to the hospital.

The Sheriff’s car? It left and didn’t look back…a “hit and run” by any standard. In fact, two legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild – there to monitor law enforcement if they used excessive force or violated the rights of demonstrators – were first-hand witnesses and as county public defenders were shocked by the action, noting that they’ve defended non-law enforcement people who faced attempted murder, hit and run and assault with a deadly weapon for doing less.

Instead, a CHP cruiser that showed up a few minutes later a ways from the scene refused to take a report or even investigate the crime scene and talk to witnesses – anyone who works in or around the legal system knows that witnesses’ memories are best immediately after a crime.

And not only did CHP badge number 20308 – he said – refuse to take a report or do anything despite the presence of witnesses – including two officers of the court, an NLG recording of the alleged crime and vehicle identification of the Sheriff’s vehicle, he repeatedly threatened to arrest an NLG legal observer who asked him to investigate.

Later, when NLG legal observers attempted to approach CHP and Sheriff vehicles several blocks away and glean their identification and make a citizen report about the hit and run, they were also threatened with arrest. CHP officers also refused to offer their badge numbers as required.

And so it goes.

To those protesting Mr. Clark’s death, the “collaboration” – or collusion – of the CHP and Sheriff’ Dept. only proved that law enforcement agencies protect each other, and not average citizens. That they cover up each other’s mistakes.

In the eyes of those already convinced that law enforcement is corrupt, these incidents only confirmed that those in “blue” believe they are above the law, free to murder a young unarmed man. Free to run over an arthritic 61-year-old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

It may not be the case. But to many it sure looks like it.


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53 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Stephon Clark Vigil Turns Bloody, Sheriff’s Cruiser Mows Down Arthritic 61-Year-Old; CHP Refuses to Intervene”

  1. Keith O

    While listening to the news on the radio this morning a whole different version was being reported.  The officer in the police car was being threatened from the crowd on the left side of his vehicle who were kicking and damaging his vehicle and broke out the back window of the squad car and he sped off possibly not knowing that he had clipped the lady who was on the side of his right fender.

    1. David Greenwald

      First of all, Cres was there. Second that was in the original account. But the video we posted sure as heck doesn’t show anything like that. Third, that doesn’t excuse him leaving the scene of an accident.

        1. David Greenwald

          He didn’t say it there…

          But he’s been in most papers in the country and the major networks talking about it: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article207598209.html

          “Cres Velluchi recorded the number of the patrol car that hit Cleveland as 1476894 and reported it to the California Highway Patrol. Velluchi said the Highway Patrol declined to take the information.”

          They misspelled his name of course.

        2. David Greenwald

          You wrote: “Still nothing that Cres witnessed the actual accident.”

          I wrote: “First of all, Cres was there.”

          I did not state as to whether he witnessed the actual accident, but he was the one who provided the CHP with the license number.

        3. Keith O

          But you implied that he did.

          You then wrote:

          He didn’t say it there…
          But he’s been in most papers in the country and the major networks talking about it:

    2. Tia Will

      Keith

      Even if this version of events were completely true, it would not explain the failure of multiple officers to take the testimony of eye witnesses. Unlike in the situation you described, these were officers that were assigned to that particular site and so did not have the credible explanation that they had other duties that were more pressing.

      We also have seen multiple episodes locally, regionally and nationally in which accounts given by police officers have subsequently not correlated with video evidence of what actually occurred. While it is conceivable that the driver, in the confusion may not have realized that he struck a pedestrian, it is inconceivable to me why multiple officers would refuse offered evidence and threaten those offering it with arrest.

  2. Ken A

    I don’t know if this will make Crescenzo Vellucci happy or sad but years ago about a minute after we saw a guy hit my car in SF trying to park we (three white guys) flagged down a (white) cop who was driving by and he didn’t seem interested at all.  I agree that “witnesses’ memory is best immediately after a crime” but the cop said if we wanted to file a report we could go to the police station the next day and he drove off (fortunately without hitting any of us)…

    1. Alan Miller

      Huh.  Wonder if that’s an SF thing.  A psycho in a van followed me for a mile through traffic on my bike, pulled up next to me stopped and shoved me with both hands trying to knock me over (I had slapped his van window with one hand as I went by him — no words — for blocking the bike lane on Folsom and he apparently lost it and decided to harm me).  I tried to give a report to a few different officers and called in from Davis, but they all said “go to a police station”.  It was such a hassle I never ended up reporting the incident.

  3. John Hobbs

    Last night around 11:00 pm, I was returning from taking my missus to UCD.  While headed west on Fruitridge Road, I had the left turn signal for 24th street and was preparing to turn south when two north bound SSD SUVs, no sirens or emergency lights, blew through the intersection, turning west on Fruitridge Rd. My son was with me and asked,”Wonder what they were running from?” As I have been saying for decades, cops are at best useless to working people and at worst deadly. I do not believe for a second that the deputy was unaware that they hit someone. I think the moral cowardice that we are seeing demonstrated is part of the fabric of the modern police force. Hiring people who lack nominal empathy, training them to act first and rationalize it later and hiring for physical fitness with limited reasoning ability, this is what you get.

    1. Jeff M

      I wish you could learn to write without spewing so much hate and pejoratives.  Your post is chalk full of both.  I think you have no clue for what it takes to work in that profession and yet you sit in judgement like you are the all-knowing king.

      I think it is ironic that most of what makes the job of law enforcement so much more difficult is caused by the failed politics of the same cohort that spews hate for law enforcement.  There are bad cops.  There are bad teachers.  They are both sustained by their public sector unions.   The work of the bad teachers is the start of the next phase of human destruction (the first being the loss of community economic opportunity that has been replaced by a cycle of human spirit-killing welfare).  Fathers cannot provide for their families and leave.  Mothers cannot control their sons.  The schools throw up their hands while continuing to eliminate the types of classes and programs that these kids need to develop real life skills.  Then the kids leave high school with no future and join gangs to begin their life of crime.  It is a life of crime that is also supported by the open borders project of the left.

      And the cops have to deal with the mess.

      And you and your cohort both demand protection of the public sector union status quo while blaming the cops.

      Cities are having difficulty hiring new officers.   It is a job that already sucks given the large pile of broken humanity brought to us by the politics of the left.

      By the way, this woman previously was arrested for assaulting officers.

      1. Tia Will

        By the way, this woman previously was arrested for assaulting officers.”

        Is the penalty for previously assaulting officers being struck by a patrol car?  You state she was arrested. What was the outcome? Was she convicted or was she exonerated or somewhere in between. You don’t say as is often the case in these “well she was no angel stories”.

        It is a job that already sucks given the large pile of broken humanity brought to us by the politics of the left.”

        And I wish you could learn to write without blaming everything, and I do mean everything on the politics of the left. I suppose discriminatory housing policies, educational policies,  hiring policies and advancement policies of POC for generations has had nothing at all to do with the economic and social conditions faced by POC. Nothing at all, right ?

        There are bad cops.  There are bad teachers. “

        True as written. There are bad actors in every single profession that you can name. Interesting that you only choose two that have unions associated. Bernie Madhoff was not in a union but he managed to ripoff an extraordinary number of people before being caught. Donald Trump has never been a union member and yet has had thousands of accusations made of discriminatory housing policies, stiffing contractors, leaving others holding the bag for failed businesses, fraudulent advertising. The one allowed activity that sets police officers apart from others, both unionized and not, is that they are the only ones legally allowed to injure and/or kill civilians if they “feel their life is at risk”, often with no plausible evidence that this is true.

        1. Keith O

          Keith O’s Law  (the Vanguard’s version of Godwin’s Law)

          As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Trump in the discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Donald Trump or his deeds.

           

        2. Howard P

          Yes, and if someone else doesn’t, Keith O. will.

          Some folk are afraid of clowns… I’m not.  But neither do I take them seriously, and keep believing there are either adults in the room, or in the wings…

           

        3. Keith O

          I don’t bring Trump into every conversation, do you have proof or are you just doing your usual steering of the little electric motor on the boat?

        4. Moderator

          Trump is pretty much always off topic.

          Labor unions seem off topic for this article.

          Seems there would be enough to talk about on this topic without going in those directions. Please stay on topic and be nice to each other.

      2. John Hobbs

        What a presumptuous pile of horse hockey. I live in the neighborhood where Stephon was murdered. Most of the families in this neighbor are intact,  many multi-generational households. Most folks get up and go to work, their kids go to school and try to do the best that they can. The gang activity in the neighborhood is mostly limited to graffiti, though there are a couple of notoriously dangerous apartment complexes that constitute a very small part of the neighborhood. I feel safe walking to the Walgreens most evenings.  I see and hear the abusive way that police deal with my neighbors.  I have seen the police become more like an occupying army than a public service organization. I reported an event that happened last night and my son’s reaction to it. You took the cheap and easy shots because you don’t like the narrative.

        1. Jeff M

          Talk about a pile of horse hockey.  Medowview is one of the highest crime-rate neighborhoods in Sacramento. You feel safe walking to Walgreens “most” evenings? Don’t you even see the irony in your post?

  4. Howard P

    Interesting headline… “bloody”… given the accounts all saying “bruises”, you were saying there was below-skin bleeding, that justifies the “bloody” headline?

    Headline writing from the Hearst school?

  5. Tia Will

    Howard

    This is a really interesting criticism for you to make given that you then provide a reasonable explanation for why it was not “yellow journalism”.

    The location of bleeding often does not reflect the severity of the injury. Some examples: 1. A subdural hematoma with collection of blood between bone and brain may be lethal although completely invisible. 2. Same may occur with intra-abdominal bleeding from either the spleen or the liver.  3. On a less dramatic level I have seen a patellar fracture which was completely disabling with no breakage of skin and seemingly minor bruising. 4. I had a fall in which there was no breakage of skin, and yet I had a classic shiner which developed within minutes of striking my forehead on a curb. It was bad enough that they immediately did a CT to rule out the possibility of an orbital fracture which would have required immediate surgery.

    While I agree that the titles of articles on the Vanguard are sometimes not reflective of content, this is not one of them, and you demonstrated that yourself.

  6. Howard P

    Convenient medical spin… not surprised (almost expected)…

    I did not say “yellow journalism”… that is ‘yours’, not mine… you made an assumption of what I was thinking… [your internal god (if any) forbid]… do you even REALLY know the referent to “yellow journalism”?  Since no asians were involved (from accounts so far), it is extremely convoluted to ascribe that type of referent… are you accusing me of racism?  Are you accusing me of ascribing that to David?  NO!

    Could my referent have been, “all the News that’s Fit to Print” (with the understatement that ‘what ever sells papers’ [hits]?)

    Could I have meant other aspects of WRH’s approach to “reporting”?

    Yes, ‘yellow’ is a color that many bruises go thru… bruises can ideed be dangerous/fatal, depending on location/extent… but, duh, I’ve known that thru a medic Dad, First Aid teaching/training, personal experience… lose the patronizing, please… suspect I know more about first aid, general injuries than you know about engineering… feel like a personal attack?  More like ‘payback’ for what I felt… sanctimony only goes so far…

    Politely, I say, you have no clue as to what I was thinking…

  7. Tia Will

    Howard

    Politely, I say, you have no clue as to what I was thinking…”

    If true, wouldn’t it have been simpler to just enlighten me rather than launching a diatribe?

    Yellow journalism – definition
    “journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration”.

    “that justifies the “bloody” headline”
    I don’t have to know what you were thinking. What you said was enough to bring this to my mind. That was what my comment referred to, not your thoughts.

    1. Howard P

      You obviously did not understand what I wrote… all I asked (David, not you, but I guess we both thank you for clarifying his referent, and my asking for clarifiction, from him… mighty generous of you) was whether bloody meant subcutaneous… you added to the topic, by going into a very PA ‘diatribe’ on different kind of bruises than have been reported… thank you for that.  I guess, as I already knew everything that you wrote of… but, thank you.  Pointless, but informative.

      You, not me, said “yellow journalism”… that is not what I said, not what I meant, and you persist on knowing my thought process(es)… gee, don’t you hate it when someone does that to you?!?

      So your quoting a definition of ‘yellow journalism’ is spurious, specious, and off-target.   Provoking, in the ‘bad’ sense of the word, even.

      Enjoy the sunshine, and have a good day.

      1. David Greenwald

        Howard: I didn’t write the title, but not copping out here, I also didn’t have a problem with the title.  I took it as more a colloquial term than a literal one.

        1. Howard P

          Acknowledged.  Appreciate the response, but still, as to the headline… hard to tell what is literal, what is colloquial, what is hyperbole, what is ‘license’, and what are exagerations, lies or BS.  Particularly in the various narratives, and “eye-witness” accounts…

          Just saying… words and viewed situations are subject to those individual interpretations we are all prone to…

          Ex. (that I DO NOT believe applies here…)

          When I was a teenager, some, dealing with a rude driver, as a pedestrian, would give a hard slap to a fender, grab their thigh, fall down, and scream out… bystanders “saw” the kid being hit by the car… driver was confused, often panicked by leaving as quick as they could.  No injury involved.  A teenager acting out in frustration.

          Here, given the various accounts, I would not make any conclusions… but others certainly will…

          Choosing to walk in front of a police car, right after another has passed? Reminds me of a M*A*S*H episode about a certain “local”…

          In any event I wish the victim a quick and full recovery, and will pray for that, to my mythological God…

           

  8. Jeff M

    Root cause analysis is lacking in the social justice warrior pursuit of fairness for all.

    I am into problem-solving.  It is the reason that I am successful in business… noting when my emotions are at play and causing me to miss the root-cause target and waste time chasing a non-solution.

    I don’t care any less for the young men being shot by the cops.  No reasonable person can be satisfied with this type of thing.  It needs to stop.

    But I ask myself what is the root cause of the problem and how can we remedy it.

    The root cause is not law enforcement.  In fact, the ratio of bad cops is likely much less today than it has been historically.  The type of corruption that has historically existed in American law enforcement is unheard of today.   The negative consequences to any cop mistakenly shooting a suspect is horrendous… both professionally and personally.   However, cops in the US are 35-times more likely to be injured or killed in the US than in places like Germany.  The mistake to not shoot when necessary is significantly more horrendous.

    Take a trip to a neighborhood with low income and high crime and you would have to lie to yourself that your senses were not on high alert for greater personal risk, and also you would have to lie to yourself that the behavior of he local residents was not significantly more suspicious than in your own exclusive primarily white and well off community.

    What are you to do if you are a cop working in these high crime neighborhoods?  Just ignore the suspicions?   Ignore the requests of neighbors reporting crime and suspicious activity?  Ignore the differences between these places and those places where people tend to obey the law?

    I believe what we are experiencing is a culture clash.  The poor urban neighborhoods have adopted a culture of behavior that is below the line of lawfulness.  The laws of the urban jungle take precedence for survival over the “laws of whites”.   This is the root cause of the problem of too many cop shooting of black suspects.  It is not racism as black cops are often involved in these shootings.

    The problem is that we have a growing gap between the culture of the new upper class (well-represented by Davis) were human needs are met and the culture of rules-to-live by are well accepted and complied with… and the poor and working class that have seen their economic prospects crash and thus causing a spiral downward in social capital for their communities.  And the result has been a growing community cultural divide that law enforcement cannot reconcile without violence.

    I believe we have two choices:

    1. Have a separate book of law-enforcement protocol for the low-income and high-crime neighborhoods in recognition of this different culture, but establish a perimeter over which the other book will be applied.   In other words, breaking car windows and hopping fences inside the perimeter would be ignored, but not outside the perimeter.  The same is being done in Arab communities throughout Europe.

    2. Fix the cultural gap in the poor neighborhood so that residents of those communities behave more like do the people in Davis.

    1. David Greenwald

      “It is not racism as black cops are often involved in these shootings.”

      I’m going to start with this as you’ve bolded it and it’s easy to attack.  This misunderstands what unconscious bias is, how it works, and it can affect African American officers just as much as white officers.

        1. David Greenwald

          “taunt” is an insulting remark that has no place in a serious conversation. I’m sorry, your better than that. Unconscious bias has a tremendous amount of research backing it.

      1. David Greenwald

        Much scientific research has established that the human mind is susceptible to something called “implicit bias,” which is unconscious attitudes and stereotypes humans harbor that can affect a person’s actions and behaviors without that person’s awareness. A person who believes they are not prejudiced may still harbor implicit bias.
         
        A Harvard University website — https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html — has implicit association tests (IAT) where one can evaluate themselves for 13 types of implicit bias.
        http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-utbg-police-bias-1006-story.html

      2. Howard P

        I’m going to start with this as you’ve bolded it and it’s easy to attack

        Then,

        “taunt” is an insulting remark that has no place in a serious conversation.

        Exanples of “no ‘taunt’ here”…

         

        1. David Greenwald

          David: “taunt is an insulting remark”

          Keith: “taunt was the wrong word.”

          David: “Appreciate that”

          Howard: Exumes the corpse of the dead horse to resume beating it.

          (Note: I should probably add, I’m being facetious here)

      3. Ken A

        With the exception (the higher than average number) of black on black police shootings I’m wondering what percent of other black on black shootings in the US are the result of “unconscious bias” (serious question I’m wondering what percentage of the THOUSANDS of black on black shootings each year in American’s big cities are because of “unconscious attitudes and stereotypes humans harbor that can affect a person’s actions and behaviors without that person’s awareness”

        1. Jeff M

          Good questions.  Unfortunately those data were left out of the “studies” that I am sure were not influenced at all by the writer’s implicit biases.

          So, if black cops are racist against black suspects, it stands to reason that white liberals must also be racist against white conservatives.

          Now that I think about it, maybe there is something to this implicit bias thing.

          Or maybe it is that cultural-tribal difference thing that lacks the same value as a social justice political wedge… and is frankly embarrassing to admit.

    2. David Greenwald

      Second point, partially in response to a comment you made last week as we;;. Professor Zimring’s research point that the number of deaths at the hands of police, based on research by the Washington Post and Guardian, is not declining even though violent crimes and on-duty police officers are are sharply down.

    3. Howard P

      I don’t care any less for the young men being shot by the cops.  No reasonable person can be satisfied with this type of thing.  It needs to stop.

      Wish you had said,

      I don’t care any less for the unarmed, non-threatening young men being shot by the cops.  No reasonable person can be satisfied with this type of thing.  It needs to stop.

      Even as a civilian, I think the instant situation was completely unjustified… two on one, cover from the building… only an extreme paranoid, given an enclosed backyard, numerical superiority, on a non-lethal ‘crime’ call, would have felt so threatened to fire 20 rounds… (with 40% finding their mark, the rest possibly putting others at risk)

      The jerk cops are too paranoid and/or untrained, to ever wear a badge, and should be banned for life from owning/possessing firearms… blaming the “police”, in a universal way, is as rational as blaming all white males for Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, the Las Vegas/Florida/Texas/So Carolina shootings…

      Just an opinion…

    4. Tia Will

      I am into problem-solving.  It is the reason that I am successful in business”

      I am into compassionate problem-solving. It was the reason that I was a successful doctor.

      There is no single “root cause” for any multifactorial social, economic, or political problem. There are multiple factors all of which need to be addressed. Our societal problems are fundamentally rooted in the differential treatment of various segments of the population by those having the greatest power. This has been true from the beginning of what we recognize as the USA and it remains true today. It is the action that should be judged, not the social identity of the person performing the act.

  9. Deb Westergaard

    And yet another example of how police brush off victims. In this video the driver admits to speeding, being inattentive, and driving without valid insurance. To be clear, I stopped to hit the button that triggers the flashing lights to cross and looked both ways. Despite all of this and the clear guidance of California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 21950 (“Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties”), the police declared me to be 100% at fault and nothing happened to the driver. The driver never received a speeding ticket, was never cited for driving without insurance (the information was fabricated on the report as well as where I was hit), and was never cited for hitting me. At the end of the video the officer says the driver will be contacted by the DA — that never happened. Most egregiously, I was never personally interviewed by the Davis Police officer, even though I was the victim of this horrific collision.

    https://youtu.be/oGwgSlTAtMc

  10. Tia Will

    Keith

    Keith O’s Law  (the Vanguard’s version of Godwin’s Law)”

    My apologies for introducing the “T” word into a Vanguard discussion. This is wholly and entirely my fault. I broke my own recommendation to you, Keith. I Vanguarded prior to coffee. I will try to do better.

     

    1. Keith O

      I know I’m being petty about Trump being continually introduced into article comments that have nothing to do with Trump.  But for years many of us had our comments moderated and/or deleted for using the O word.  Fair is fair, now that the shoe’s on the other foot all you Trump haters will just have to deal with it.

    2. Howard P

      Actually Keith, might have to cut you some slack… verboten to bring in national politics, but as a common feature, ‘articles’ are downloaded from the national ACLU site, and reposted as an article here, relating to policing/”justice” issues emerging in NC, TX, etc., where there is no clear tie to CA, much less Yolo County or Davis.

      Guess it has to do with whose ox is being gored… or whose ox someone wants to gore…

      1. Ken A

        It is amazing how the “fake news” writers will see a video of a police car “bumping into” (accidentally hit against something) a person and say they were “run over” (injure/kill someone with a car) or “mowed down” (killed violently by a vehicle or gunfire).  I’m not a big cop defender and I actually think the Sacramento cops that shot the guy should be charged with killing him and the Sheriff that hit the lady should also be charged but let’s try to at least make a “little” effort to say what really happened (and not blame almost everything bad on “implicit bias”)…

        1. Howard P

          The term used in the headline, was “mows down”… as in, deliberate intent to cut things, like grass… just saying., to that extent, I definitely agree, Ken A…

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