A group of about two dozen protesters at Sacramento City Hall on Friday night said officers involved in the fatal shooting of Dazion Flenaugh, a mentally ill homeless man, should not have been awarded medals of valor at a police ceremony this week.
Five or six protesters staged a silent sit-in in the lobby of City Hall in downtown Sacramento, as an equal number of police officers watched over them. Outside the building, 15 to 20 people chanted and held protest signs.
Wilson Sefo Michel was among those protesting outside the building. He said he was upset that officers who killed a man had been given medals for courage.
“We can’t normalize cops killing people,” he said. “When you see injustice, you have to call it out, regardless of who did it.”
The protesters in the lobby had been there since the afternoon and had refused to leave when the building closed for the day. Around 9 p.m. four of the protesters were arrested, ending the sit-in.
Sefo Michel said their goal was to stay in the public space for as long as they wanted; they weren’t making any particular demands, he said.
On Thursday, the three officers involved in last year’s fatal shooting of Flenaugh – whom relatives said suffered from an untreated bipolar disorder and was homeless – were honored at the Sacramento Police Department’s annual awards ceremony.
The Police Department said two of the officers had saved a third officer by shooting Flenaugh, who allegedly charged at officers with knives during a chaotic confrontation in south Sacramento last year.
Officers Jeffrey Todd Carr, Dustin Southward and Eric Toomey were presented with the department’s Bronze Medal of Valor for the April 8, 2016, incident in which they killed the 40-year-old man.