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More than 80 people — including Sacramento Bee reporter — detained at Stephon Clark protest

Giancarlo Pietri Velutini
More than 80 people — including Sacramento Bee reporter — detained at Stephon Clark protest

Dozens of people, including a Sacramento Bee reporter, were detained Monday night when a protest over the Sacramento County district attorney’s decision not to charge two officers in the shooting death of Stephon Clark, a black man holding a cellphone, turned tense and closed down one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods.

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Authorities detained journalist Dale Kasler and two pastors, including Les Simmons, a well-known church leader who has been a vocal supporter of the Clark family, after the protest had begun to break up and people were attempting to leave the area. An administrative law judge was also detained. Kasler was released soon after.

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Advertisement > The protesters could not return to their cars because police would not allow them back into the area where they had parked. As the protesters moved down the only available path, police followed, eventually making arrests.

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Sacramento police did not immediately return a call for comment.

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About 100 protesters had marched through East Sacramento, where Ronald Reagan lived when he was governor and where the film “Ladybird” was shot amid streets filled with historic urban mansions that house many of Sacramento’s elite. Pushing a sound system in a wheelchair, they chanted Clark’s name.

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“Our plan was to bring the issue to a neighborhood whose residents have proximity to decision-making power,” protester J. Ama Mantey said in a statement. “This is a neighborhood that would likely never experience such a tragic and violent loss of one of its residents, so we are bringing the discomfort and pain of our trauma to their doorstep.”

The area’s population is 83% white, with an average household income of more than $100,000. Meadowview, the area where Clark was shot, has an average household income of about $45,000 and is 22% white, according to U.S. census data from the five-year American Community Survey

Clark, 22, was shot last March by two officers who mistook his iPhone for a gun. The officers had been responding to a call about a vandal, and a subsequent investigation found that Clark had broken three vehicle windows and a sliding glass door on his neighbor’s house

The officers were directed to Clark by a Sheriff’s Department helicopter and chased him into a dark backyard, where they fired 20 shots after seeing a burst of light in his hand that one officer thought was a muzzle flash, according to the subsequent investigation. Clark was struck at least seven times and died at the scene

The killing ignited massive protests around the city, shutting down an NBA game and closing a freeway

On Saturday, Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not charge the officers criminally, leaving many in the capital city fearing another round of demonstrations

Activists and Clark’s family were particularly angered by Schubert’s decision to release text messages on Clark’s phone that detailed a fight with the mother of his children, Salena Manni, in which he discussed committing suicide and an alleged domestic violence incident

So far, protests have not drawn the massive turnouts that happened just after the shooting. But activists have said they plan on targeted actions throughout the week that will focus on “disruption and discomfort,” said protester Berry Accius

On Sunday, Accius and a group of students staged a sit-in at the city’s largest mall, prompting its owners to shut it down for the day

Black Lives Matter has announced that it will begin holding thrice-weekly protests beginning Tuesday at the city’s main police station

Advertisement > A second review of the shooting is being conducted by state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. That report is expected to be released soon, according to his spokeswoman