A Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy was caught on camera on Saturday hitting a protester with their SUV
61-year-old Wanda Cleveland was attempting to get out of the street when the SUV accelerated and hit her
The deputy drove away after striking Cleveland and knocking her to the ground
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department claims to have an open investigation into the incident
Protesters in Sacramento, California were shocked on Saturday when a sheriff appeared to purposely hit an elderly woman with their SUV during a protest against the Stephon Clark police shooting.
At approximately 8:40 pm, 61-year-old Wanda Cleveland was one of many protesters attempting to clear out of the street after being ordered to by Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies. The incident was caught on camera by Guy Danilowitz of the National Lawyers Guild.
In the video, you can see Cleveland attempting to cross the street in between two Sacramento County Sheriff SUV’s. As Cleveland walks in front of one the SUV’s, she waves her arms as if she was telling the deputy to wait as the vehicle accelerated towards her.
The deputy strikes Cleveland and knocks her to the ground as protesters begin yelling and running towards the SUV. Protesters were more shocked when they watched the SUV flee the scene of the crime.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department released the following statement via their website and Facebook page.
PRESS RELEASE: SHERIFF’S VEHICLE COLLISION INVOLVING PEDESTRIAN
On March 31, 2018, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department personnel along with other law enforcement agencies responded to a planned protest in the area of 65th Expressway and Florin Road, within south Sacramento County.
At approximately 8:40 P.M. Sheriff’s Deputies driving two marked Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicles traveling westbound on Florin Road from Stockton Boulevard became surrounded by a group of protesters. As protesters approached both of the marked vehicles, they began yelling while pounding and kicking the vehicles’ exterior. 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. The collision occurred while the patrol vehicle was traveling at slow speeds.
Sacramento Metro Fire Department personnel responded to the scene and transported the involved pedestrian to an area hospital for treatment. The pedestrian sustained minor injuries.
During the incident, the Sheriff’s Department vehicle sustained scratches, dents, and a shattered rear window. The damage to the vehicle was not a result of the collision involving the pedestrian but was caused by vandals in the crowd.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an internal review of the incident and the California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.
While the press release claims significant damage on one of the SUV’s, in the video that damage is not visible. Some have speculated that the deputies caused the damage to the SUV as a means of justifying the hit and run. The release also neglects to address the deputy fled the scene after hitting Cleveland.
Saturday’s protest followed the release of an independent autopsy released on Friday that showed 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot eight times by Sacramento police officers. Out of the eight shots, most of them struck Clark in the back, which has raised questions of the police account of Clark being a threat.
In the initial account from the Sacramento Police Department, Clark allegedly “advanced towards officers.” Officers claimed they believed Clark had a gun in his hand. After the shooting officers found a cell phone on Clark. Clark was unarmed.
The incident began on March 18, when officers received a call that a man was breaking out car windows in the Meadowview neighborhood in South Sacramento. A police helicopter assisted the officers and at one point stated the suspect had obtained a crowbar.
The officers eventually spotted Clark who appears to have run from the officers to his grandmother’s backyard. In the body cam footage, an officer can be heard yelling “gun” repeatedly as he opens fire on Clark almost instantly. When other officers arrived on the scene, the two officers responsible for killing Clark muted their body cams, which has only caused more distrust over the police account of the shooting.