Demonstrators marched through Sacramento’s central city on Saturday night in solidarity with protesters in Portland, advocating a message of defunding and dismantling the police.
Portland has seen over 50 consecutive nights of protests and became a flashpoint amid nationwide demonstrations over police brutality and racial inequality when the Trump administration sent in federal agents to quell the unrest.
On Saturday, protesters in cities across the country marched against the Department of Homeland Security presence in Portland; some demonstrations, including ones in Oakland and Seattle, resulted in fires and other property damage.
The Sacramento Police Department says peaceful demonstrators gathered at Cesar Chavez Plaza around 7 p.m. and marched to the Capitol. A press release claims a separate group of protesters gathered in the park at 9 p.m. and marched through nearby neighborhoods and business districts. The protests caused some property damage, including broken windows at businesses and City Hall.
Several protesters declined interview requests with CapRadio. A group of protesters holding umbrellas at times surrounded a CapRadio reporter, blocking him from capturing images or speaking with demonstrators.
Multiple demonstrators expressed concern over a recent court ruling in Seattle, which is requiring several media outlets to give police photos and videos captured during a recent protest in order to help them solve alleged arson of law enforcement vehicles and theft of firearms. The ruling applies to images and videos taken with professional camera equipment, but not cell phones.
A local TV news crew in Sacramento allege protesters assaulted them, according to police.
An Instagram account purportedly affiliated with the protests advertised the event as an “autonomous action against federal + police occupation, anti-blackness and settler colonialism.” It encouraged people to “mask up,” “come with a crew” and “support a diversity of tactics.” The post also contained information on avoiding arrest and using objects to block the street to hinder police response.
CapRadio observed some protesters wearing body armor, including kneepads and helmets, and carrying makeshift shields. Most, if not all, wore masks, as prescribed by local public health orders.
Police claim some protesters carried metal pipes and rocks.
Officers arrested one woman for allegedly spray-painting City Hall.
In its press release, the Sacramento Police Department claimed “detectives know that protestors attending this march were told to be prepared to use a variety of tactics that could be unlawful” and described the protest as “violent.”
Sonia Lewis, a community activist, told CapRadio on Sunday that “law enforcement has a history of creating narratives that make the Black community, protesters and the most disenfranchised in the community look horrible.”
“So while it doesn’t surprise me that they use terms like violent and thugs and unlawful, what we need to focus on is the fact that justice has not come to the Black community and the levels of frustration associated with state-sanctioned violence at the hands of law enforcement is what the issue is.”
She added that she “can’t stress enough” the need to stop focusing on what demonstrators are doing in the streets. “If there is unlawful activities that are going on at protests, it’s in response to murder, it’s in response to state-sanctioned violence.”
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