Sacramento Bee reporter detained, two more journalists covering protest march among 84 arrested

Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler was detained Monday night while covering a Stephon Clark protest in East Sacramento.

Kasler was handcuffed and led away as other reporters shouted that Kasler was a member of the media on assignment. He had been standing on the west side of the street, where several protesters who were also arrested had been standing.

Kasler was released just after 11 p.m. after being held for about an hour.

Kasler is in his 23rd year as a Bee reporter after joining the newspaper from the Des Moines Register. He had been running a video stream on Facebook Live at the time of the arrest.

Reports surfaced early Tuesday that two other journalists – Scott Rodd of the Sacramento Business Journal and William Coburn of the State Hornet, the student publication at Sacramento State – were arrested. Both men posted to Twitter after being released; Rodd said he needed “to sleep and process this” while Coburn posted “they’re letting the people they arrested after the #StephonClark march out. Most of us no worse for the wear.”

Police on Tuesday morning could not confirm that they had known the reporters were among those arrested.

In total, 84 people were arrested Monday night, according to Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler.

Pastor Les Simmons of South Sacramento Christian Center was also arrested.

Simmons has been close with the Clark family and spoke briefly about Stephon Clark in his sermon Sunday morning. However, Clark’s mother Se’Quette criticized Simmons on Monday in an interview with KCRA.

“Due to previous experiences with Les Simmons, and examples of his professional character, the Clark family as a whole will never be able to associate with anything he does,” she said.

Simmons’ charges were not immediately clear.

More than 30 people have been arrested Monday night after at least five cars were keyed, Capt. Norm Leong said on Twitter.

Police spokesman Vance Chandler offered little insight about Simmons and Kasler’s arrests.

“I don’t have those details yet. I am working on gathering that information as this activity is ongoing,” Chandler said.

Another Bee staffer, photographer Hector Amezcua was also involved in an incident while covering the protest. As police moved in to end the protest, Amezcua was shoved to the ground by an officer with a baton, his camera damaged. This was witnessed by legal observers at the scene as well as Bee journalists. Amezcua said he was not injured.

Rev. Shane Harris, who flew up to Sacramento on Saturday with Clark’s girlfriend Salena Manni, was also detained Monday night.

The arrests followed a protest march through the streets that started small at an East Sacramento grocery store. A crowd of about 70 to 100 people assembled at Trader Joe’s supermarket on Folsom Boulevard around 6:30 p.m. and began marching about 15 minutes later, chanting “Whose street? Our street? The people united will never be divided!”

Neighboring businesses such as The Other Side restaurant and taproom, Incredible Pets and Face & Body Emporium closed early to avoid the crowd. Police assembled outside the grocery store at 5 p.m., and blocked Folsom Boulevard as the march progressed.

“The East Sacramento location was chosen because it is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the City of Sacramento and home to many influential leaders in city and state government,” The Table Sacramento announced.

Some neighbors came out of their houses to watch as the marchers went by, including Dylan Holcomb, who walked over to Trader Joe’s after finding about the protest on Twitter. His 4-year-old daughter Eloise perched atop his shoulders, Holcomb said he didn’t have a problem with the protesters gathering in the perpetually crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot.

“I support any peaceful protest by citizen of Sacramento,” Holcomb said. “I think if going to make statement you’ve got to do it in a fairly congested area.”

Clark’s brother Stevante joined the protesters shortly after 8 p.m.

Adrian Mohammed, a spokesman for the group, said before the march that the protestors weren’t expected to head to Golden 1 Center, where the Kings were set to play the New York Knicks on Monday night.

Crews began installing fencing around the plaza surrounding the arena Monday morning in anticipation of possible protests; marchers blocked the main entrance to Golden 1 during two games right after Clark’s shooting last March, preventing thousands of fans from entering. The Kings said the plaza would be open only to fans holding tickets.

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District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Saturday she wouldn’t file charges against the two officers who killed Clark, an unarmed black man. A demonstration was held that afternoon outside main police headquarters, and on Sunday Arden Fair mall was closed all day after a small group of protestors began a sit-in at the mall. The mall’s owners said they were afraid the protest would grow too large for the mall to handle safely.

The protests were set to continue Tuesday, this time at the main police station on Freeport Boulevard.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento, in a Facebook post Monday, urged followers to “occupy the police station!” The posting said similar protests would also be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Freeport location.

“We will probably go inside until they kick us out,” said Sonia Lewis, an organizer with Black Lives Matter. “It is a public place.” She said the group staged a protest inside police headquarters last May.

Police spokesman Marcus Basquez said protestors would be allowed inside “to a point.”

“If it’s peaceful, fine,” he said. “If property becomes destroyed or lives become endangered, that’s a whole other topic.” He said the department has additional police officers deployed “if anything flares up.”

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