Another weekend in Sacramento, another series of violent clashes between protesters.
For weeks, Sacramento police have established a perimeter around the unpermitted pro-Trump demonstrations at the state Capitol to separate them from black-clad counter-protesters. While things inside the perimeter have largely remained peaceful, violence has spilled over in the surrounding streets.
Sacramento police arrested six people Saturday on a range of charges, from felony assault of an officer to weapons possession, as well outstanding warrants, according to an email from a department spokesperson.
Five officers sustained minor injuries throughout the day, according to the email.
The pro-Trump demonstrators gathered for the sixth straight weekend since the presidential election, which former Vice President Joe Biden won. The demonstrators claim the election was “stolen” from President Donald Trump, a claim that has been rejected by numerous judges across the country — including, most recently, justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The demonstrations next to the Capitol have also drawn vaccine skeptics, COVID-19 deniers and critics of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
The violent clashes have been primarily between the Proud Boys, a far-right paramilitary group, and antifa counter-protesters.
The Anti-Defamation League labels the Proud Boys as a “misogynistic” and “anti-immigration” organization, with some members “espous[ing] white supremacist” ideologies.
During one violent exchange on Saturday, a large group of counter-protesters confronted two Proud Boys at the entrance of a parking garage. After a counter-demonstrator threw something, the Proud Boys began spraying the crowd with mace.
Today was the most violent of any protest in downtown Sacramento since the election.— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) December 13, 2020
Mace, batons, fisticuffs. A guy even pulled out a katana.
Thread containing videos of several violent clashes.
Below was the first significant clash btwn counter-protesters and Proud Boys 1/ pic.twitter.com/TeFKiOMyUx
A short time later, a Trump supporter holding a baton verbally antagonized the group. A number of counter-protesters rushed the man and beat him in an alley.
After, a man with a baton began verbally antagonizing the group of counter protesters.— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) December 13, 2020
A number of them rushed him in an alley and beat him.
Multiple counter-protesters blocked me and demanded I not film. I said (through a gas mask) I'm press and just doing my job 2/ pic.twitter.com/b8sh167Clk
Police tried numerous times to divide the two clashing groups, with limited success.
At one point, a group of Proud Boys walked around the block to avoid a line of officers and then violently confronted counter-protesters. Shoving, fisticuffs and threats with weapons ensued from both sides.
Protesters carried mace, batons, metal rods and one man brandished a sword.
Police tried numerous times to divide the two clashing groups, with limited success.— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) December 13, 2020
Here the Proud Boys walked around the line of officers to violently confront counter protesters. Both sides engaged.
Man on counter-protest side brandishes katana 3/ pic.twitter.com/icfeC1VHPL
Counter-protesters continued marching through downtown as police followed on bicycles, with a foot-patrol cavalry close behind carrying batons, projectile weapons and mace. On at least one occasion, police fired projectiles at protesters.
The two groups briefly met again near Roosevelt Park, where counter-protesters began their march, until police broke up the two sides and rushed the counter-demonstrators. Officers tackled several protesters and made arrests.
Later on the two groups crossed paths against near Roosevelt Park. Some items thrown back and forth.— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) December 13, 2020
Police rushed counter-protester side and at one point fired projectiles (not in video).
Police tackled a few protesters and made arrests 4/ pic.twitter.com/Zjnxm6RbTJ
Police SUVs briefly chased a truck that had escorted the group of counter-protesters through downtown. The driver was detained and issued a citation, and police seized the vehicle.
In a recent press release, the department said violent demonstrations have been a significant drain on the department, requiring the redeployment of detectives and outreach officers from their usual posts to help control the crowds.
On CapRadio’s Insight, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn explained some of the challenges of taking enforcement action during the recent protests.
“If we can make arrests, we will,” he said, but added that many people — including victims of violence — are unwilling to cooperate with police or give their names.
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