Sacramento - Police Brutality History
In 2016, eight people were shot and killed by the police in Sacramento. In 2017, a young Black male was punched at least 18 times by a Sacramento police officer. In 2014, a protestor at a march against police brutality mentioned that “there are killer cops on the Sacramento sheriff's department and the Sacramento police department.” Please note that sources older than two years were utilized to obtained information related to police brutality from 2013 to 2015. Below, I will provide an overview on the history of problems with police brutality and racism in Sacramento, including statistics about police brutality and perceived police racism, major cases of police brutality and comments about police brutality.
STATISTICS ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY AND PERCEIVED POLICE RACISM
In 2014, KQED created and published a database and maps of police-related fatalities in California, including Sacramento. The incidents reported include shootings as well as deaths resulting from the use of force during arrest or detention. There were eight police-related fatalities in Sacramento in 2014. The Sacramento Bee reported that there were eight people shot and killed by the police in Sacramento as of October 2016. Please note that the sources that provided the police-related fatalities in 2014 and 2016 did not mention the race of the victims.
The numbers cited in a report on jaywalking tickets have shown that tickets were disproportionately given to black people in Sacramento in 2016. This has led to community activist Rashid Sidqe accusing the Sacramento Police Department of “racial profiling.” In 2016, out of the 233 jaywalking tickets issued in North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights, 111 were received by Black people. Black people had received 47% of the total number of tickets issued despite only accounting for 15% of the area’s residents. Citywide, blacks received 152 of the total 316 tickets issued (48%) despite making up only 14% of the city’s population.
CASES OF POLICE BRUTALITY IN SACRAMENTO
An extensive search did not reveal any pre-compiled list for cases of police brutality in Sacramento over the past five years. CNN has published a list of controversial police encounters from 1991 to 2017 in the United States. Two cases in California (2009 in Oakland and 2001 in Fullerton) were highlighted, but incidents that happened in Sacramento were not mentioned. A general press search for cases of police brutality in Sacramento has revealed three major incidents over the last five years.
In May 2013, it was reported that a White male in his 40s died under custody by the Sacramento Police Department. The victim had entered a Metro PCS store and made unintelligible statements to a female staff. The man left the store when the staff called 911 but returned to the store when officers arrived. A violent struggle occurred, and the police used pepper spray and multiple baton strikes to free an officer from the victim’s grasp. The victim was hit ten times with a baton by a female officer while he was restrained by a male officer’s legs. The victim was pronounced dead in the hospital.
In April 2016, it was reported that a mentally ill Black male was shot and killed by police in South Sacramento. The victim, Dazion Jerome Flenaugh was 40 years old. The incident occurred after Flenaugh was first arrested for disturbance but later escaped the police cruiser. According to the press release issued by the Police Department, Flenaugh was charging at the officers with knives in his hands. In response, the three police officers fired a total of 16 rounds, hitting Flenaugh seven times, and killing him on the spot.
In April 2017, it was reported that Nandi Cain Jr., a young Black male, was punched at least 18 times by Sacramento police officer Anthony Figueroa. During the incident, Officer Figueroa confronted Cain in an attempt to detain him for allegedly jaywalking. During the confrontation, Cain removed his jacket and dropped it on the ground. This prompted Officer Figueroa to charge at Cain, slamming him to the pavement and beating him. When the beating stopped, Officer Figueroa handcuffed Cain and placed him into the patrol car.
COMMENTS ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY (BEFORE STEPHON CLARK'S CASE)
In December 2014, protesters marched against police brutality in downtown Sacramento in response to the deadly police encounters in New York, Ferguson, and other cities. A Black protestor said: “This system is not for the people, it's to protect the crooked police officers, police that want to murder innocent black young youth.” A female protestor felt that “there are killer cops on the Sacramento sheriff's department and the Sacramento police department.” Another protestor mentioned that “we do not have equal rights. Minorities against the other society. But right now, the police are running rogue in this city.”
In 2015, Maile Hampton was arrested for “lynching after trying to pull a fellow protester away from police during a January rally against law enforcement brutality in Sacramento.” She felt that she was targeted by police because she is “very active in the Black Lives Matter movement.” She also said that: “It seemed very hypocritical and outrageous that … four uniformed white men came into my home, an African American woman, took me out of my home, put me in jail for standing up for black people – on lynching,”
In January 2017, Hampton also took part in the Black Lives Matter protest to fight police brutality, inequality, and racism. She said that “this march [Black Lives Matter protest] is different from the MLK [Martin Luther King, Jr. protest] sponsored by the police and a lot of different corporations.” James Giluki, who also took part in the Black Lives Matter protest, said that: “My father was born in 1934 in Southern Arkansas; he saw MLK live. My father was never allowed to sit in a classroom with a white person…When I look at my daughter, this can’t be normal for her when she’s in her 30s.”
In conclusion, reports over the last five years have shown that police brutality in Sacramento could happen to people of any races. In general, people in Sacramento have a negative impression of the city’s police department even before the Stephon Clark's case.