On March 18, deputies from the Sacramento Sheriff's Department shot and killed an unarmed 22-year-old black man named Stephon Clark. The officers shot at him 20 times, hitting him eight times, seven of which hit Clark in the back. Since then, black Sacramento residents have been demonstrating for justice.
This past Saturday, March 31, at least 100 people had gathered to hold a vigil outside a sheriff department station in the Sacramento neighborhood where Clark was killed. Some protesters had loosely begun to surround two sheriff's vehicles. A deputy in one of the vehicles asked people to disperse four times before slowly driving through the parting crowd. However, a deputy in a second vehicle suddenly began following the first without warning, and in doing so struck 61-year-old Wanda Cleveland.
Video and bystander accounts reveal that the second vehicle did not hesitate to continue driving away after the hit, leaving an elderly woman injured in the street.
At present, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department has done little more than promise to conduct an internal probe into Saturday's hit-and-run. Sheriff Scott Jones has also stated publicly that he believes that it was merely an "unfortunate" accident - although he has not yet spoken with the deputy responsible for striking Cleveland.
Given the way the Sacramento Sheriff's Department is handling the killing of Clark and now the extremely suspicious circumstances surrounding this hit-and-run, promises to conduct internal investigations are too little, too late.
This is why California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his office should open their own investigation into both of these incidents as well as conduct a review into this department – something is not right in Sacramento and it needs to be fixed.
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