SACRAMENTO – A 61-year-old woman was hit by a police vehicle while taking off from protesters protesting the police murder of Stephon Clark in what the victim and the protesters described as a hit and run.
Wanda Cleveland, a local activist, received a blow to her right leg and was taken to a hospital, where she was treated for arm and neck injuries and released.
The protesters took to the streets on Saturday night, part of one-day protests after the murder of Clark, 22, an unarmed black man shot by police on March 18 in Sacramento. The demonstrations have been particularly tense since Thursday, when an independent autopsy report concluded that Clark was beaten eight times, mainly in the back. The incident was recorded in body cameras of the police.
In a video posted on ABC10, protesters led busy Florin Road south of downtown Sacramento chanting slogans, including "Say your name! Stephon Clark!" Amid traffic in motion. A group of what appears to be around two dozen people are approaching a Sacramento County sheriff's police cruiser and surrounding it. "When people are busy, resistance is justified," the crowd sings.
Cruise lights blink and siren lights. Another cruiser stops behind in an apparent move to retreat the first vehicle.
"Get away from my vehicle," says an agent four times on a loudspeaker. After a few moments, the first cruise slowly stops, and a woman emerges from the crowd between the vehicles, both SUVs.
The second cruiser hits her and she hits the ground. In a video recorded by public defender and legal observer Guy Danilowitz, the woman's white sign lights up with the headlights before the impact.
The longest ABC10 video does not show the deputies coming back in circles. Fire and rescue personnel arrive approximately seven minutes later to load the woman, Cleveland, on a stretcher and take her to an ambulance.
Before the accident, Cleveland, a vocal activist at the Sacramento City Council meetings, told how she felt he was unfairly arrested three years ago for allegedly touching a police officer during a tense meeting.
"I'm on a mission now, I'll never let a policeman touch me again," he said before the accident. Almost an hour later, she lay on her back on a city street after being hit by the SUV.
"I want to know what I was thinking," Cleveland said from his hospital bed in the emergency room. "My life is not that important?"
Phuong Le, left, holds Wanda Cleveland after Cleveland was hit by a vehicle from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. (Elijah Nouvelage / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
Cleveland suffered minor injuries to the head and elbow. She said that once she was on the ground, she quickly left the road, fearing that the vehicle would run over her. "I could hear the tires roll by my side," he said.
"It was a coup and flight," said Andre Young after witnessing the incident. "The police have to be better than this."
Phuong Le, a friend of Cleveland, ran to his aid and held his head until the paramedics arrived.
"I was really upset and accelerated," Le said. "He did not make everyone obey and move, so he just hit her"
. In a statement, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said the collision occurred at "slow speeds" after the protesters "shouted while hitting and kicking." outside of the vehicles. "One of the vehicles suffered scratches, dents and a shattered rear window that was caused by vandals and was not related to the collision, according to the sergeant Shaun Hampton.
The incident is being investigated by the Highway Patrol. While the department conducts an internal review, Hampton added, it was not immediately clear if disciplinary action would be taken.
"It never stopped. It was a stroke and a race, "Cleveland told the Sacramento Bee." If I did, they would charge me. It is indifference to human life. "
Danilowitz, who filmed the incident, was there as a legal observer to document any case of civil rights violations or excessive police during demonstrations.The National Lawyers Guild oversees a network of observers of this type who wear fluorescent green hats for the police to clearly identify them throughout the country.
Observers usually record videos and photos of police activity and demonstrators, but in general, hold on to the documentation Unless it becomes part of a court case later, Danilowitz told The Washington Post on Sunday in a telephone interview.
"But [the incident] it was so outrageous that it was in the public interest to take it out," he said. 19659024] Danilowitz said a civilian involved in a similar collision would possibly be charged with various crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon and rape. There is a state law that says drivers "must stop the vehicle immediately at the scene of the accident. "
Other statutes say the driver must help organize medical care."
"It is unusual to see potential criminal behavior on the part of officers," Danilowitz said, adding that the chambers of the board for county deputies they activate when the police lights are on, which increases the possibility of collisions and consequences, including conversations inside the vehicle.
The sheriff's department did not immediately respond asking if the deputies involved appear having violated the laws.
Cres Vellucci, the observer coordinator for the region, was also on the scene, telling the Post that he had arrested a California Highway Patrol officer on a police cruiser. he had told the officer that a crime had been committed and that there were witnesses and photographs to gather for an investigation.
"Get out of here or what I will arrest, "the officer told him twice, Vellucci said. . Then the officer got out of the car and chased him down the street, he added. The California Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lavaughnna Carter, left, and his daughter Sakereh participate in a demonstration and vigil by Stephon Clark. In the background is Hemza Salem, a student from the state of Sacramento. (Elijah Nouvelage / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
The protests of the night began as a silent vigil for Clark, but the blow and flight changed the tenor. He joined a growing crowd of more than 200 protesters who marched on 65th Street. Many joined the march after learning of the incident on social media.
"There is no responsibility with these people," said Le. "That's what he's showing."
Protesters went to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and found 15 patrols blocking the department. The police were carrying riot gear while they were facing the protesters who were singing, who were standing some distance away from them in the parking lot.
The protesters refused to disperse and continued to block the main intersection, while redirecting the frustrated passengers. The officers made two lines, preventing the protesters from continuing the march. Some organizers asked that the protesters disperse and go home. But one branch of the group remained, making its way to face the officers. A man grabbed a one meter long stick and started to approach the line before another protester confronted him and stopped him.
"We have to keep letting our voices be heard!" Said Maurice Conner, a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, whose comments were punctuated by the honks of impatient drivers. "Let them know that Stephon Clark, Mike Brown, Aiyana Jones, Tamir Rice … Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant: How many more names should we name?" Sandra Bland All of these names that were named are also people who have been deprived of their rights in all aspects of society. "
Mark Douglas and a friend were walking towards Walmart on Florin Road when they heard the commotion in the distance: call and answer songs – "Say your name!" "Stephon Clark!" – hitting the crash of a police helicopter unit above, warning protesters through a loudspeaker that they could be arrested for participating.
"We heard it and instantly I knew what it was," said Douglas, 27, a reporter. "Then we came and joined the movement."
He also took the microphone.
"I thank all the races that are here!" Douglas yelled into the microphone. "Because that means they will understand our fight! They will understand what it means to be at the bottom because of our skin color!"
Marissa Barrera also spoke, whose family sued the City of Woodland after her brother of 30 years, Michael Barrera, died in the police custody last year.
"My heart is with Stephon's family because nobody can understand it, you can feel our pain, but you will never know it until it happens," he said. "And I ask God to never happen to you."
Wanda Cleveland marched during the rally and vigil of Stephon Clark in Sacramento early Saturday morning. (Elijah Nouvelage / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
& # 39; Our city is suffering & # 39 ;: protesters swarm downtown Sacramento after the deadly shooting of the police
Stephon Clark received eight shots, mostly in the back, the autopsy requested by his family shows