SACRAMENTO (AP) — A group of left-wing protesters threw rocks at the house of the mayor of Sacramento, destroyed a cherished homemade art piece and repeatedly shouted his children’s names in what the mayor denounced as “anarchy.”
A group of about 50 people converged on Mayor Darrell Steinberg home over the weekend to protest the city’s handling of homelessness amid the pandemic.
“This was not protest. This was anarchy,” Steinberg said in a statement Monday about the vandalism,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “You want to challenge me, challenge me at City Hall. Challenge me in the community. Challenge me at the ballot box.”
About 80 police officers who had been monitoring the protest moved in and dispersed “the destructive demonstration,” police officials said in a news release Monday.
Police Chief Daniel Hahn said his department supports everyone’s First Amendment right to free expression, but what happened at the mayor’s house was not free speech.
“It was a group of people dedicated to the destruction of a local leader’s property,” Hahn said in the news release. “The Sacramento Police Department will continue to investigate incidents such as these and identify those involved. We are committed to the safety of everyone in our community.”
Saturday’s protest was led by a loose confederation of left-wing activists who have been vocal critics of city leadership since this summer.
Criticism of Steinberg and other city leaders on homelessness was renewed after a powerful winter storm pounded Sacramento and at least one unsheltered person died during the storm.
Steinberg said the weekend protesters repeatedly shouted his children’s names outside the home.
“They involved my family. My family did not get elected. I did,” the mayor said in his written statement. “Many of these masked people are not from Sacramento. They came to harm our community.”