An officer driving a Sacramento County sheriff’s vehicle appears to have been involved in a hit–and–run accident during a vigil for Stephon Clark on Saturday night. According to media reports, the vehicle struck a protester and drove off.
Demonstrator Wanda Cleveland was taken to a local hospital in south Sacramento by ambulance and released after midnight with bruises on her arm and the back of her head, The Sacramento Bee reported.
She told the newspaper, “He never even stopped. It was a hit and run. If I did that I’d be charged.”
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department confirmed the accident, but blamed it on protesters for surrounding police vehicles and threatening the officers. “Vandals in the crowd” caused “scratches, dents, and a shattered rear window,” the sheriff’s department statement said, according to the Bee.
According to ABC 10, about 50 demonstrators had gathered at an intersectionnear the neighborhood where Clark grew up. They were participating in ongoing protests to draw attention to police violence targeting African Americans in the wake of Clark’s death at the hands of Sacramento police on March 18. Police officers fired about 20 times at the unarmed father of two in his grandmother’s backyard. He was struck by eight bullets—seven of them in the back.
A video of the accident posted on Facebook shows protesters surrounding a police SUV with its lights flashing and siren blaring. An officer radios to the crowd several times for them to step away from the vehicle. After the first police SUV leaves, a second cruiser accelerates and appears to strike Cleveland. The vehicle’s driver does not stop or return to the scene.
“I heard wheels spin. And then I saw her body flung to the curb,” witness Tifanei Ressl-Moyer told the Bee.