Sacramento police officers and County Sheriff's deputies arrested 84 people in East Sacramento last night. Those people were taking part in, and in at least one case, covering a protest of the decision not to file criminal charges against the officers who shot Stephon Clark last year.
The march through East Sac was a surprise, as security preparations were made for what was expected to be the target---last night's Kings game at Golden 1 Center. But with about an hour's notice, organizers called for a meeting and march in the parking lot of the Trader Joe's on Folsom Boulevard.
Within a few minutes of gathering, the protesters moved out of the parking lot and onto Folsom Boulevard, chanting over a loudspeaker and moving slowly through the neighborhood, one of the most affluent in the city. Organizers said they chose East Sacramento because of the influence, wealth and power of its residents.
There was at least one tense confrontation with a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Protestors shouted Stephon Clark's name and stole the hat from the man's head. Riot police closed in and the protestors moved on.
Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler says at least five cars were vandalized along the route and that's when officers declared it an illegal assembly and gave orders for the crowd to leave or be pepper sprayed, stun-gunned or arrested. Some protesters were pushed back to the Trader Joe's parking lot. The Sacramento Bee reports one of its photographers was pushed to the ground by an officer's baton and his photographic equipment was damaged.
A larger group of people moved away from Trader Joe's to the 51st Street overpass and officers approached from both sides, ordering them to leave. Protestors complained that they were boxed in and couldn't leave, and that's when the mass arrests began.
Among those arrested were Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler, who had been live-streaming the protest. Sacramento Bee reporter Sam Stanton took over the live-streaming and reported that the Publisher and Editor of the Bee were in touch with Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg, pushing for Kasler's release as he was simply doing his job.
Sgt. Chandler says Kasler was released when it was determined he had proper credentials and was, in fact, a member of the media. Photos from the scene clearly show Kasler wearing his state-issued press credentials prominently on a lanyard around his neck. He was handcuffed and detained for an hour before being released.
Also arrested were South Sacramento Christian Center Pastor Les Simmons and the Reverend Shane Harris of The People's Alliance for Justice. Sgt. Chandler says protesters were given notice at least ten times over more than two hours to disperse before arrests occurred. One of the arrests, he said, includes charges of resisting.