Thomas Phippen, DCNF
A sheriff’s car struck and injured a protester attending a Saturday night vigil for Stephon Clark, the man shot by police March 18 in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, Calif.
Video of the incident shows protesters gathering around two Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department vehicles, and one of the officers calling on the loudspeaker for people to step away from his vehicle. As the vehicles begin to move, video obtained by ABC 10 shows the second car striking a person to the ground and continuing to drive without stopping.
The officer can be heard directing the pedestrians at least four times to “.”
The injured pedestrian, identified by news outlets as local activist Wanda Cleveland, was taken to a hospital for treatment and released a few hours after midnight.
“He never even stopped. It was a hit and run. If I did that I’d be charged,” Cleveland told reporters at the hospital. “It’s disregard for human life.”
The Sacramento sheriff’s department said in a statement that the incident started after protestors “approached both of the marked vehicles” and “began yelling while pounding and kicking the vehicles’ exterior.”
The department did not release any names of the officers involved but noted that the “collision occurred while the patrol vehicle was traveling at slow speeds” and that the pedestrian sustained minor injuries.
Sheriffs also say several vehicles “sustained scratches, dents, and a shattered rear window,” not from the collision with the pedestrian but from “vandals in the crowd.”
“I heard wheels spin. And then I saw her body flung to the curb,” Tifanei Ressl-Moyer, a legal observer attending the protest, told the Sacramento Bee. “The vehicle sped off and some protesters went after them.”
Another legal observer recorded the vehicles plate number and reported the incident as a hit and run but says the California State Highway Patrol declined to take the information.
After the collision, the protesters shouted “hit and run” until a helicopter hovering above ordered them to disperse or be arrested.
The vigil for Stephon Clark comes days after his family released an autopsy showing he was shot several times in the back.
“The narrative that had been put forth was that they had to open fire because he was charging at them,” Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Clark family, said.
Officers said previously that they shot when Clark came toward them with a gun in his hand after responding to a call about a black man breaking into cars around the neighborhood.
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