Activists rallying for a bill that would restrict law enforcement officers’ use of deadly force on Thursday denounced the arrests of dozens of protesters in East Sacramento earlier this week, saying the roundup was an overreach meant to intimidate police critics.
They gathered to support Assembly Bill 392, which would make it easier to prosecute police after questionable shootings by changing the standard for the justifiable use of deadly force.
Family members of Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police last year, joined in the rally. Police on Monday arrested 84 people at a march in East Sacramento where activists protested Sacramento County’s decision not to prosecute the officers who shot Clark to death.
“Over the past few months I have participated in clergy and community activities to prepare for the Stephon Clark decision. In all of those discussions we emphasized de-escalation and judicious use of police power. Yet when demonstrations were held in an elite community, notice the difference,” said Imam Haazim Rashed of Masjid As Sabur mosque in South Sacramento.
“By holding it where people of power live, we saw no deescalation, no judicious use of police power, no mitigation, no negotiation, we saw oppression,” he said.
He was among about 150 people gathered at the Capitol to advocate for A.B. 392. Many of them chanted “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” among other things.
Clark’s brother, Stevante, and his grandmother, Sequita, participated in the event.
Democratic Assembly members Shirley Weber of San Diego and Kevin McCarty of Sacramento submitted the use of force bill. Each spoke at the rally.
“We must fight back. And the African Americans and the Latinos who have been elected to this house ought to bring the experience and the voice of their communities forward so that we understand more than anyone that we can educate our colleagues about what we have faced in this nation for generations and generations to come,” Weber said.
McCarty at the Capitol also criticized the protestors’ arrests in East Sacramento, calling the crackdown a “disgrace.”
“That was an embarrassing moment for Sacramento on top of what we see here with the incidents of Stephon Clark,” he said on Thursday. “I apologize on behalf of my city for treating that protest that night. That was not correct. But more importantly, we’re going to keep coming at it every day.”