After four weeks of Stephon Clark protests outside her building, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert apparently has had enough: A 10-foot cyclone fence was erected Friday morning around the front of her building and encircling the rear employee parking lot.
“Based upon concerns of our employees and employees of surrounding businesses, we consulted with the county, who owns our building and a decision was made to install temporary fencing,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said in a statement emailed to The Sacramento Bee. “It has been determined that this is the most appropriate way to ensure the safety of employees, citizens, witnesses, victims, officers and others entering and exiting the District Attorney’s Office while still allowing the exercise of First Amendment privileges.”
The fence includes an opening near the front entrance, but appears designed to keep protesters from gathering on the front plaza and landscaped areas near the doors. Protesters regularly set up charcoal barbecues in front of the doors and cook hamburgers and hot dogs while making speeches and chanting slogans.
Grippi said the fencing is costing the county $1,700 over the next six months.
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Tanya Faison of Black Lives Matter Sacramento said the fence will not deter protests and questioned the legality of fencing off public property.
“It’s sad because the people have a right to protest and she’s trying to take that right away from us,” Faison said. “The whole reason that building exists and people are working in it is because of our tax dollars.
“I don’t think it's amusing that she can't handle just addressing the people instead of hiding behind a fence. We’re still going to be there.”
Faison’s protests have targeted Schubert in an effort to get her to file criminal charges against the two Sacramento police officers who shot Clark on March 18 after chasing him into the backyard of his grandparents’ south Sacramento home.
Clark, 22, was suspected of breaking into cars in the area and police say the officers fired because they believed he had a gun. Clark was unarmed, and was found to be carrying only a cellphone.
Schubert defended herself in a news conference Wednesday, saying her office has not yet received the investigative report being compiled by police and that a decision in the matter could take many months. She also criticized some protesters, saying they intimidated employees and others leaving the building at Ninth and G streets and the parking lot.
Faison has rejected those concerns, saying the protests have been peaceful, although she conceded that protesters intentionally block traffic and the parking lot at times.
The latest protests came Thursday, including a procession in the morning that consisted of about 40 people delivering what organizers say were 100,000 online petition signatures asking for the officers to be prosecuted.