SACRAMENTO — There were two words to describe the situation around the Sacramento Convention Center on Tuesday while a Police Expo was taking place inside the facility and demonstrations were held outside of the building in J Street.
A clash between members of Black Lives Sacramento and pro-police demonstrators heightened the tension while local police agencies showed up in riot gear, mount horses, bicycles, and plainclothes attire.
Rashid Sidqe, a member of Law Enforcement Accountability Directive, said it best about the day’s event that highlighted six months since Stephon Clark was shot and killed by two Sacramento Police officers in his grandmother’s backyard.
“It was ‘organized chaos,’” Sidqe told The OBSERVER. “This was really just to come out and protest for Stephon Clark. We understand the (Sacramento County) Sheriff’s office lost somebody (Sept. 17). But this just escalated things on both sides.”
Sidqe was referring to the fact that he and some BLMS members believe Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones raised the barometer level when he asked pro-police supporters of the law enforcement to confront BLMS demonstrators at the event hosted by the California Peace Officers Association.
The Sheriff’s department lost a deputy who was shot and killed in Rancho Cordova. Law enforcement agents were also criticized for shielding the pro-police protesters during the demonstrations, who at times were the agitators.
“Here we are in a peaceful protest and they’ve (pro-police supporters) been inciting a near riot,” said local social justice advocate and founder of Voices of the Youth, Berry Accius. “The counter-protesters…Scott Jones called them out. The police have been protecting them. They are protecting White Supremacy.”
Apparently, the Sacramento Police department harnessed most of the actions on Monday to prevent what could have been another Ferguson and Charlottesville combined. The marches by BLMS were closely monitored and were a lot more controlled despite a lot of emotions running high.
What should be noted, Black Lives Matter Sacramento has not triggered one riot in the Sacramento region as it pushes to express the right of the First Amendment.
“Obviously, we want people to exercise their rights. But at the same time, we want to keep the peace and keep different groups apart,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told The OBSERVER. “There are people angry on all sides. The last thing we want is violence over a protest while they try to express their views.”
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer