84 Arrests in Stephon Clark Protest Monday Night

Police Assault Media, Arrest Clergy, Legal Observers as ‘Uptown’ March Rattles Residents

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – The community here – incensed that City of Sacramento police officers killed an unarmed man in his grandparents’ back yard on March 18, 2018 and were allowed to get off free when the officers were not charged – marched through East Sacramento, the city’s wealthiest and most prestigious neighborhood Monday night.

The city responded in force. A mega, militarized force.

An estimated 200 SPD, Sacramento County Sheriff Deputies and CA Highway Patrol officers – a chopper and several dozen bike and horse mounted officers – made 84 arrests of clergy, legal observers, lawyers, disabled veterans and even a news reporter from the Sacramento Bee, who eventually was “un-arrested” and released.

It (84) was most probably was the largest number of people ever arrested in Sacramento history at one time.

After spending up to four hours in custody, virtually everyone was released from a special Cal Expo processing site around 2 or 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. They were charged with “failure to disperse,” but that was under dispute.

The demonstrators were ordered to disperse at Trader Joe’s near 50th and Folsom about 9:10 p.m. – where the march started at 7 p.m. Monday Local Government Relations Manager for UC Davis. Demonstrators – about 150 of them – marched up and down the “Fabulous 40’s” neighborhood with multi-million-dollar homes of Sacramento’s rich and famous and influential. They passed by the home, for instance, that former Gov. Ronald Reagan lived in during for his governor years.

That kind of audacity – to go “Uptown” – with shouting, sign-waving demonstrators protesting the death of a Black man, Stephon Clark, wasn’t going to be ignored. And it wasn’t.

“You won’t get any sleep. We’re in your neighborhood now,” said one demonstrator as marchers paused only a few times walking through darkened streets of East Sacramento.

The final dispersal order came about 9:10 p.m. and within minutes fully-armored police with batons, rifles and bikes – that were used as barricades and weapons – marched forward from two positions, pushing people and journalists to the ground.

Those in the crowd had nowhere to go, to disperse as ordered, than to walk down 51st Street and across the Highway 50 overpass and find their way home from there. Instead, police, who had forced them to leave the area that direction by cutting off other avenues, then mobbed them at the south end of the overpass near T Street and began arrests.

“We were all jammed in a small area. We wanted to get out of there but there was nowhere to go. It seemed that although the people wanted to go home the police had had enough,” said Dale Kasler, a Sacramento Bee reporter covering the event. He spent hours in cuffs for his trouble.

Earlier, members of the news media were chased off by officers, and a Sacramento Bee photographer pinned against a Trader Joe’s sign by suddenly charging officers wielding batons, and bikes like weapons against unarmed and peaceful demonstrators and onlookers even though they were not in the street.

Reporters quizzed the SPD spokesman at a hastily-called, midnight news confrontation.

“Didn’t you know Dale was a reporter – his ID was around his neck,” asked a reporter when the SPD suggested they un-arrested him when his credentials cleared.

“We want to keep the community safe,” said the SPD but reporters pressed that what made this protest any different that the many others this past year after Stephon Clark was killed holding only a cell phone, suggesting that protests downtown and in the poorer parts of town didn’t receive the same attention as this one.

In fact, there were about 14 arrests in dozens and dozens of protests this past year, and protestors shut down two Sacramento Kings games, and took over Interstate 5, among other nonviolent protests.

But one protest in the wealthy part of town netted 84 arrests.

The group The Table Sacramento, which organized the march, said the “East Sacramento location was chosen because it is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the City of Sacramento and home to many influential leaders in city and state government.”

“Our plan was to bring the issue to a neighborhood whose residents have proximity to decision-making power,” said J. Ama Mantey, an affiliate member of The Table Sacramento. “This is a neighborhood that would likely never experience such a tragic and violent loss of one of its residents, so we are bringing the discomfort and pain of our trauma to their doorstep in hopes of spurring their solidarity and political engagement.”

“The District Attorney’s press release focused almost exclusively on the actions and alleged motivations of Clark, with no equitable investigation into the officers’ text messages, state of mind, google searches, or toxicology reports. The Table Sacramento views this focus as not only inappropriate, but as demonstration of gross incompetence within the office, said demonstrators.

“Her (District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert) job was to determine if a crime had been committed by the two officers, Terence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, the only people in the interaction who had weapons and discharged those weapons 20 times to result in a loss of life,” said Joshua Robinson, on behalf of the Table Sacramento.

“Yet instead she focused her investigation on the victim, Stephon Clark. This was a misguided attempt to malign the victim by providing details the officers’ had no knowledge of during the incident in an attempt to explain to the Sacramento community why a young black man deserved to die.”

The Table Sacramento issued the following demands of both the City and County of Sacramento:

#1 Chief Daniel Hahn recommend Sacramento City Police Officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet for termination immediately. City Manager, Howard Chan approves and executes this recommendation immediately.

#2 Mayor and City Council give full policy review, subpoena and disciplinary recommendation powers to the Sacramento Police Commission.

#3 The resignation or recall of District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Sheriff Scott Jones.

#4 Stop the over-policing of our neighborhoods. The Sacramento Unified School District, Twin Rivers Unified School District and Natomas Unified School District end the contracts with and remove school resource officers (SROs, a.k.a. police) from our Sacramento-area K-12 schools.

#5 Sacramento Mayor and City Council and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors adopt the deadly force standards of AB 392 (Weber) at the local level immediately with the city and county’s full and public commitment to advocate for the passage AB 392 this legislative cycle at the state level.  ​

“The five recommendations represent a series of policy strategies to prevent deadly encounters with police and to ensure that if encounters occur, officers who behave irresponsibly are held accountable by the personnel and judicial processes,” said Flojaune Cofer, affiliate member of The Table. “We will continue to engage in and encourage nonviolent civil disobedience until these recommendations are adopted.”


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30 Comments

  1. John Hobbs

    The police acted in concert to push the protesters into a dead end , instead of allowing them to disperse. Hahn, Schubert et al should have to answer to the courts and council for criminal civil rights abuses.  If one of the most culturally diverse cities in California (and the USA for that matter) can’t reign in their hired thugs then maybe it’s time for the US department of Justice to intervene, because if the cops keep this up, they will eventually get the street justice they have been dealing out for decades themselves.

    1. John Hobbs

      Alan, I am a veteran of protests, staring in 1967 and going forward. The cops get to call the dance, From Birmingham to Charlottesville, EVERY TIME. They decide how to stage the whole thing, either by allowing crowds to vent and disperse peacefully or by herding them into a corral for beatings and arrests. Last night they were sending a message: “Don’t come up here in the rich white folks faces with your raggedy protest. Nobody cares if a young black man is gunned down in his grandma’s yard in South Sac by two jumpy cops. We will spare no expense nor delay for a second in protecting he absolute right of the wealthy to perfect peace and quiet.” Message received, Chief Hahn.

      1. Alan Miller

        Hey, I’m happy to see they went into a wealthy neighborhood, protestors often don’t.  And I’m glad it there wasn’t large scale trashing of said neighborhood, as that doesn’t help anyone.

  2. Craig Ross

    The cops violated the handbook for protests – ignore them – they burn themselves out.  Arrest people, suppress them, and it becomes a problem.

  3. Edgar Wai

    I wonder which helicopter was there. SPD got a new helicopter not long ago. An elementary school named it Halo because Corona means Halo.

    “We want to keep the community safe,” said the SPD but reporters pressed that what made this protest any different that the many others this past year after Stephon Clark was killed holding only a cell phone, suggesting that protests downtown and in the poorer parts of town didn’t receive the same attention as this one.

    I think this characterization is not correct. When the people protest in their own neighborhood against the police, the police need not be present. When a neighborhood goes to another neighborhood (residential) area, depending on whether the people in that neighborhood wants the protest. If the people in that neighborhood complained about the protest, the police is obliged to act.

    A situation like this could be resolved in these ways:

    1. If the residence welcome the protest, they should make it clear about that. For example, the mayor or city council members could be present to give a speech in support or to receive the complains of the protest.

    2. If the residence don’t welcome the protest, the mayor or city council members should still be present to give a speech to receive the complains. The message from the protest needs to be received. That is the essential meaning of first amendment. The government MUST listen.

    3. If the city council did not come to receive the message, the police chief could try doing that. By default, the police chief should receive the message even though it won’t help to address the protest, since the whole point of the protest was that the protesters didn’t trust the police. But the police, as part of the government, must also receive the message.

    4. After receiving the message, the protesters then need to decide what they want to do next, given that their message is received. The person receiving the message could discuss the priority of the message so that the protesters can know what to expect in terms of time frame to act on the message.

  4. Edgar Wai

    Next time when there is a protest, instead of sending police with riot gear, maybe send in police with paper and pencils to let the protester write down their messages and wishes, and help those who cannot write.

    The protesters were burning. They want something. Let them speak. Listen, take notes. Dive into their hearts and memories, see their fire, find their chord.

    1. David Greenwald

      First of all, the public has a right to protest. There are real questions about whether the police acted properly in arresting people when they did. To top that, they also arrested reporters for which there is no justification at all.

      1. Edgar Wai

        I think we have a disagreement on what is a proper protest.
        “You won’t get any sleep. We’re in your neighborhood now,” said one demonstrator as marchers paused only a few times walking through darkened streets of East Sacramento.

        If this is taken literbally, when the objective of a demonstration is to make people unable to sleep. Then is could cross a line.

        I wasn’t  there by they were in a residential area and they don’t live there. Were they loud? What was the interaction like between them and the residences?

        I have no reason to believe or justify that a person has the right to deprive another person of their sleep. In my judgment that action is beyond free speech and protest.

        First amendment is a contract between the government and the people, not a contract between individual persons. Protesting in residential areas will easily cross that line.

         

        1. Alan Miller

          > I think it gets really dangerous when we get into deciding what is proper and what isn’t.

          Not really.  Violence vs. Non-violence – that is the key.  Some don’t accept this, but I consider property damage violence as well, unless the damage is directed at stopping a threat, for example.  Randomly smashing s**t is just violence.

        2. Craig Ross

          Alan: perhaps you should learn first, talk second.

          From the Bee: “Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the City Council on Tuesday directed the city’s public safety accountability office to investigate police tactics used during a street protest Monday in East Sacramento that ended in 84 arrests and prompted complaints from activists that they had been tricked and trapped by police as they were trying to get to their cars to go home.”
          Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article227124634.html#storylink=cp

        3. Bill Marshall

          Alan makes a good point in his 4:57 PM post… that Edgar seems to miss…

          Violence vs. Non-violence – that is the key.  Some don’t accept this, but I consider property damage violence as well, unless the damage is directed at stopping a threat, for example.

          I agree… the right to free speech, the right to peaceably assemble, is part of the core tenets of the Constitution… the constitution says noting about making folk uncomfortable is not “peaceable”… protests are a ‘call to action’… breaking many folks’ “peace” [status quo, whatever]… once it crosses the line to violence is a different matter, entirely, as Alan points out…

          One could argue that vandalism/destruction of private property is a constitutional violation of the spirit of the Fifth Amendment (which is more focused on the ‘state’) about depriving someone/’taking’ of their property, “without due process”…

          The arrests are mostly BS… the accounts I’ve seen so far indicate no significant injuries, no deaths.

          We need to move on, and not ‘choose “sidesies”‘, and DEAL with problems that are real

          JMHO

        4. Alan Miller

          > Alan: perhaps you should learn first, talk second.

          CR:  Regarding what? You didn’t quote anything I said, then vomited the vaguely elementary-school-style insult above. Are you saying that violence is a good thing for protestors to do?

          [Moderator: please keep the discussion more polite.]

  5. Edgar Wai

    So I watched this:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=sacramento+protest+arrest&client=ms-android-verizon&prmd=inv&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwihq_eGzuzgAhWoF6YKHbUQCUIQ_AUoA3oECAwQAw&biw=360&bih=559

    It shows that the protesters were loud and blocking roadway. I think that is the improper way to protest. You could choose not to eat or sleep in protest, but you shouldn’t force others not to eat or sleep for your cause. That is no longer self sacrifice, that is coercion.

    It doesn’t show what the police did when they told them to disperse. Anyone has that video?

    1. Bill Marshall

      Edgar… Selma, AL.. 60’s… Edmund Pettus Bridge… was that an improper way to protest?  They blocked traffic… they made a lot of folk “uncomfortable”.  Protesters died and/were injured… led to the Voting Rights Act… maybe before your time…

      Tiananmen Square… was that an improper way to protest?  They blocked traffic… they made a lot of folk “uncomfortable”.  Protesters died and/were injured… changed Chinese society and how the world viewed the Chinese government…

      Am not saying anyone were heroes or villains here… but was the intent “improper”? Who are you to judge?

      1. Edgar Wai

        The ‘who’ in “Who are you to judge?” should be irrelevant. I am telling you my logic. You are free to tell me your logic. My message is that the ends does not justify the means. Just because something changed does not mean that a change could have happened by another way.

        Your message seems to be that the end justifies the means. Your message would contradict the meaning of goodwill, use of force, de-escalation, etc. You also need to consider the era and how people’s understanding of each and the world is evolving. Maybe an issue cannot be resolve unless you give each side a sword and let them duel. But this is now. We have the internet. People can talk. People can share their messages much more easily. Therefore, what “needed to happen to get an issue heard” in the past may not need to happen nowadays.

        Think about this: If a cause is just and you can choose, would you rather make a change in a way that make other inconvenient, or would you rather do so in a way that helps people in the meantime?

        If I am a no-body, then would me the name of the person who would say, “Even if my cause is just and I know that I can make the change while helping people without hurting or causing any inconvenience, I would choose the later.”

        If you put civil disobedience on a scale of causing inconvenience, you would see that such an action is justified only if there are no other less intrusive options. Therefore, IF a situation gets to civil disobedience, the cause is always Ignorance: Someone does not know how to do it better.

        In this argument, we are at the same footing and could argue the same against the police. If they had to dispatch the riot police, we can ALWAYS conclude that they did so DUE TO ignorance. If they spent $10000 on dispersing the protester, we can always conclude that they did so because they don’t know how to spend just $100 and get a better result.

        So I wrote this thing trying to tell you something because I am ignorant to how to say it in just one sentence. I don’t mean anything negative when I say someone is ignorant. When a person is looking for a way to do something better, they know they are ignorant.

        1. Edgar Wai

          Somewhat off topic:

          This might be long overdue, but this is a phrase that can replace the other well-known phrase that is getting out of fashion:

          “Hatch two birds from one egg.”

        2. John Hobbs

          “I am telling you my logic.”

          You’re ignoring the evidence and testimony of those who observed the event first hand in order to justify your own discomfort with the protesters.

          And your logic is horribly flawed.

        3. Edgar Wai

          I did not base my logic on any testimony. It was a logical derivation. The logic is the same independent to the situation.

          If you know how to get something done without hurting anyone, then you would have done that.

          Testimony is irrelevant to that logic unless there really is no video footage. I am not ignoring video, I am asking for footage.

          Also, a person does not need any external justification to say that they are not comfortable with something. A person does not need justification for what they feel. That is a personal feeling. If you believe that first hand testimony is meaningful, then you cannot attack my personal feeling.

          I don’t think I told you my personal feeling for you to question my personal feeling. All I said was If the residents like the protest, they should show their support so that the police does not need to act I said the mayor could have visited the protest and make a speech to listen to the protesters and formally receive their message. I said that the police could come with paper and pencil instead of riot gear to receive the messages of the protesters.

          I cannot conclude that “I” was discomfortable with the protesters when I was suggesting that the police and mayor should be engaging and listening to them. A person does not have to personally feel discomfortable about something to perceive that an action could be discomfortable to others.

          The following idea is still brewing but, as a neighboring city, we (Davis) could invite the protesters to come here. It is like saying, “we might now be whom you want to talk to, but we want to listen to you. We might not agree with the way you protest, but if we know your wishes we will fulfill them in the way that we can according to our principles.”

          But I can’t do that because I don’t represent anyone but myself. I only have the bandwidth to look into one video or a few articles at a time.

          John, what is your wish?

    2. Bill Marshall

      Edgar, there are what seem to be reputable accounts that they (protesters) were ‘herded’, difficult to “disperse”… many did try to disperse, (same accounts) and couldn’t because of the ‘herding’…

      In American history, protesters of the Stamp Act, Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, were told by British military to ‘disperse’… see, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Massacre#Background

      Led to huge changes in the world… for the most part, good ones..

      1. Edgar Wai

        I only have this footage. At 11:55 mark of that video, there is no sound. It just shows that there were police horse riders and people were handcuffed. Do you have the footage of when the police started handcuffing people?

        You have accounts of people getting herded, but no account of the police confiscating phones. Where is the footage?

        About how many protesters were there? 84 people is what %? How did the other protesters disperse? Did they went through the police and the police just randomly arrest some of them when they walk pass?

      2. Edgar Wai

        This report from sacbee was incomprehensible to me:

        In a follow-up interview with The Sacramento Bee, Hahn said the department “had an incident commander in charge” overseeing the department’s response to the protest. Asked who it was, he responded, “That’s a good question.”
        “I don’t know who was in charge at that moment,” he said. “I wasn’t there.”

        I don’t understand how the chief would not know who was in command. Did he ask anyone before going to the meeting?

        My guess is that he knew who was in command, but that person later denied that he was in command. So now the chief had no right answer to that good question. It is kind of a political way of the chief saying, “I just got thrown under the bus.”

  6. John Hobbs

    “Testimony is irrelevant to that logic”

    Kinda back-asswards reasoning right there. This seems to be a “Davis” issue. while having no first hand knowledge of the situation, you lack the capacity simply listen to your neighbors narratives of their first hand experiences without inserting your own interpretation and judgements. This is one reason why Davis is perceived as a racist town by so many.

    “John, what is your wish?”

    Intellectual honesty and integrity.

    1. Edgar Wai

      Which part of my judgment is being disagreed upon?

      This article stated that the protesters aimed to make the residents not able to sleep. I was responding to that intent. I watched the footage to determine whether that quote was literal or figurative. According to the footage, it was literal. The protesters was not a silent protest. People were loud. And I made a judgment that such protest would be improper because it forces others to sacrifice. With the video footage, the intent (testimony) quoted by this article became more irrelevant because the footage itself shows that protest was near houses at night and it was loud.

      The following responds to Alan’s principle that if a protest becomes violent then it is improper. Now I see a KCRA report that the police was making arrest because cars were being keyed. It has a long video but I cannot view the content where I am.

      I think it satisfies intellectual integrity to derive an layout the principle of how one will judge a situation BEFORE viewing and collecting evidence.

      In this case, I am disclosing how I will judge what is proper and what is now BEFORE I get to see videos. This is correct behavior because depending on what the video shows, the principles that I already disclosed will judge both the protester and the police. I don’t get to pick see the footage then cherry pick what rule I would apply.

    2. Edgar Wai

      John, do you agree with testimonies that the police hurt people using their bicycle? Do you have footage? According to what you believe to be true, what exactly did the police do with the bicycle?

      Did they wield a bicycle like a baton? What did they do? What do you picture when you read such testimony?

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