Many are asking (though they can predict the answer based on history) whether a Sacramento sheriff’s deputy will face legal consequences for committing a hit-and-run at a vigil for Stephon Clark.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident that happened on Saturday night, according to a statement from the department.
At about 8:40 p.m., approximately three dozen protesters surrounded sheriff’s department patrol vehicles that pulled up as people were marching in memory of Clark, the 22-year-old Black man who was unarmed when Sacramento police gunned him down on March 18.
After sounding its siren, one of the vehicles slowly drove away. A second vehicle at the scene hit Wanda Cleveland, 61, as she walked toward a curb. The deputy didn’t stop to say anything to her. Instead, the driver abruptly accelerated, leaving the activist injured in the street, Cleveland told The Sacramento Bee.
“It was a hit-and-run,” Cleveland stated. “If I did that, I’d be charged. It’s disregard for human life. … He had to have known he hit me. I went flying through the air.”
The sheriff’s office admitted that the hit-and-run happened—though it did not use that phrase. It was simply referred to as “a collision” with “a protester,” avoiding the issue of the deputy failing to stop.
Protesters surrounded both vehicles and began pounding and kicking the SUVs. The incident happened as the patrol vehicles drove away slowly, but it sustained damage (including a shattered rear window) that was unrelated to the collision, according to the department’s version.
To hear the sheriff’s take, it sounds as though the hit-and-run was justified because of vandals.
“This is their response to a community in outrage and pain; this is just another glaring example of the reckless nature of Sacramento law enforcement,” Tanya Faison, founder of Black Lives Matter’s Sacramento chapter, told CNN.
Cleveland is recuperating at home from her injuries, which include bruises on her arm and the back of her head.
The activist is a regular attendee at Sacramento City Council and county Board of Supervisor meetings, according to The Bee. Cleveland is best known for advocating for the homeless—not “jumping on top of a cop car,” her friend Ashley Crabtree told the newspaper.
Cleveland, who is a great-grandmother, is a “sweet lady and she was just out there trying to change things,” Crabtree added.