Craig Williams, a 40-year old African American man from Sacramento, California, was recently detained and arrested by a white police officer for leaving his car idling outside of a local 7-Eleven. Cell phone video and the officer’s body camera shows Craig being arrested after resisting arrest with a brief struggle with the officer.
In the video, he can repeatedly be heard saying, “Come on, man. What did I do?” In response, the officer can be heard saying that he broke the law because he left his vehicle on while he was inside the store.
Did he really break the law though?
Well, apparently there is a law in the city of Sacramento that dates back to the 1920’s and says: “It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle to permit it to stand unattended in any public place, or any used or new car lot, or private or public parking lot, without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the ignition key from the vehicle. The registered owner of a vehicle found in violation of this section shall be held prima facia responsible for any such violation.”
But one legal expert, Attorney Michael Wise, told 13 CBS Sacramento that the law is “limited to public areas that are publically maintained.” He continued, “This appears to be a private parking lot where the vehicle code technically would not even apply.”
Even other customers who watch what happened admitted that being arrested was too harsh, and that perhaps a ticket or citation should have just been given.
The Sacramento Police Department later released a statement saying that Craig was arrested because he “was uncooperative and refused to provide his identification.” Craig reportedly spent one day in jail before being released.