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National Lawyers Guild Responds to Hit-and-Run of Protester at Stephon Clark Demonstration

by National Lawyers Guild Sacramento Chapter
SACRAMENTO, CA. – The National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento Sunday issued the following statement, contesting law enforcement accounts now being circulated regarding what occurred at the Stephon Clark demonstration at Florin Road and 65th Street Saturday (March 31).
"We do not normally comment on incidents at free speech-protected public events; Our work is to observe the actions of law enforcement and in cases where demonstrators' rights are violated, we log them and only speak out if conditions warrant it – this is one of those times.

"Saturday, our six-person legal observer team, including lawyers and legal workers, was on the scene for about six hours. We witnessed cases of harassment and excessive force by the California Highway Patrol and Sacramento County Sheriff's Dept, including the unprovoked hit-and-run of a demonstrator, the issuance of unlawful orders and threats to our legal observers.

"Our video of the hit-and-run incident clearly shows the pedestrian crossing to the sidewalk in front of a Sacramento Sheriff's vehicle and almost to the other side of it before the vehicle quickly accelerates, making a loud 'thud' sound, knocking her to the ground before then speeding off.

"When we attempted to report the crime to a nearby CHP command vehicle, the officer would not take the report and threatened our team member repeatedly with arrest. When we approached Sacramento Sheriff Dept. and CHP vehicles later to make the report, we were also threatened with arrest, although law enforcement is aware we are legal observers (we wear bright green hats) for a bar association, not protest participants.

"The Sheriff Dept. statement today that its vehicle was ‘slow moving’ is dishonest and misleading - the vehicle accelerated rapidly into the pedestrian, and then left the scene of the crime. Further, any statement by law enforcement that injuries to the woman hit and thrown to the ground are 'minor' is self-serving.

"She suffered lacerations, bruises, scrapes and has a large hematoma in her head area. Law enforcement, which ran her down, and then refused to take a report, which is its duty, is not qualified to judge her medical condition. For now, the woman is at home recuperating and has legal representation.

"The National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento will be conducting our own investigation – we have vehicle and officer identifying information. We will be filing appropriate internal complaints with law enforcement agencies regarding the conduct of their personnel Saturday night."
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