Sacramento, CA — Last month, an unarmed father of two was shot and killed by police as he complied with their orders to get down on the ground. Stephon Clark’s execution was captured on body camera video as well as infrared helicopter footage. It was so shocking and such an obvious injustice that hundreds of Sacramento residents have participated in protests seeking justice.
One of these peaceful protests on Saturday night, however, turned violent when a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department vehicle struck a protester and then fled the scene. The cop’s actions were captured on cellphone video, showing what was nothing short of a hit and run.
As the HuffPo reported on Sunday, Wanda Cleveland had been marching down Florin Road in Sacramento with dozens of other activists when she was hit by the sheriff’s vehicle, video captured by Guy Danilowitz of the National Lawyers Guild showed. The sheriff’s office later confirmed the “collision.”
“He never even stopped,”′ Cleveland, who suffered multiple injuries as a result of the hit and run, told the newspaper. “It was a hit and run. If I did that I’d be charged. … It’s disregard for human life.”
Indeed, as the video shows, it was exactly that.
Cleveland was brought to a nearby hospital where she was treated for injuries to her arm and the back of her head. Luckily, she is okay.
The vehicle accelerated “very fast” and struck Cleveland “violently,” Danilowitz told CNN.
“It was a very fast acceleration, not the way you would move with people around,” Danilowitz said.
— Guy Danilowitz (@southafricangd) April 1, 2018
A longer video from ABC10 shows that no deputies help the woman and it took seven minutes for fire and rescue personnel to show up and bring her to the hospital.
“I want to know what he was thinking,” Cleveland said from her hospital bed in the emergency room. “Is my life not that important?”
“This was a hit and run,” Andre Young said after witnessing the incident. “Police have to be better than this.”
The Free Thought Project contacted the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department to get a statement on the incident but we’ve yet to receive a response. On Sunday, however, the department released a statement on the matter saying that they are conducting an internal review of the incident. According to reports, the California Highway Patrol is also investigating.
“As one of the Sheriff’s Deputies was driving, a collision occurred involving the Sheriff’s patrol vehicle and a protester who was walking in the roadway,” according to the press release. “The collision occurred while the patrol vehicle was traveling at slow speeds.”
“During the incident, the Sheriff’s Department vehicle sustained scratches, dents, and a shattered rear window,” the press release said. “The damage to the vehicle was not a result of the collision involving the pedestrian but was caused by vandals in the crowd.”
Although police claim that protesters were attacking the cruiser, from Danilowitz’s video, this is not seen.
As Danilowitz correctly stated, a civilian involved in a similar collision would possibly be charged with various crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon and violation of a state law that says drivers “shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.”
Other statutes in California require that the driver stop and arrange medical attention as well. None of this happened.
“This is unusual to see a potential criminal conduct by officers,” Danilowitz said. He added that dash cameras for county deputies are activated when the police lights are turned on, raising the possibility the collision and the aftermath, including conversations inside the vehicle, were recorded, according to the SacBee.
“There is no accountability with these people,” Phuong Le, a friend of Cleveland’s said. “That’s what this is showing.”