Riot police arrested 84 demonstrators and one reporter overnight during protests over the acquittal of two police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man.
More than 100 riot police officers detained the 84 protesters and a Sacramento Bee reporter, the newspaper reported.
Approximately 100 protesters assembled outside a Trader Joe’s supermarket and began marching through East Sacramento on Monday night in opposition to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie’s decision not to charge two police officers with any criminal liability.
The officers, one black and one white, fatally shot an unarmed Clark, 22, last year in his grandmother’s yard after responding to a vandalism call. Police said they mistook his cell phone for a gun. He was shot seven times — at least three times in the back, according to an autopsy released last May 1
Dan Iverson, of Tahoe Park, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, showed up at the protest with his teen daughter. Protesters swiped the hat off his head and told him to go home, the Bee reported.
“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.”
Police said that situation with Iverson’s hat was defused, but added that protesters keyed at least five cars. Other alleged acts of vandalism led them to direct protesters back to Trader Joe’s and tell them to disperse or face pepper spray, stun guns or arrests, police said.
Black activists Berry Accius and Sonia Lewis denied that any vandalism occurred.
Once the group was back around Trader Joe’s, the police detained six people on suspicion of unlawful assembly and two-thirds of the group moved onto the 51st Street overpass over Highway 50. Officers then handcuffed protesters, including some clergymen, on the bridge.
Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler was among the detainees. Equipment belonging to a Sacramento Bee photographer, Hector Amezuca, was damaged after an officer pushed him to the ground with a baton.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed disappointment in the arrests in a tweet early Tuesday morning.
“I’m very disappointed the protest ended the way it did,” Steinberg tweeted. “I have many questions about what went on that precipitated the order to disperse and the subsequent arrests. I will withhold further comment until I get answers to these crucial questions tonight or tomorrow morning. No matter the reason an order to disperse was given, no member of the press should be detained for doing their job.”
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