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Stephon Clark: Pastors, Bee reporter among those arrested in East Sacramento protest

The moment when Bee reporter Dale Kasler was arrested

Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler was detained while covering Stephon Clark protests. The detainment was captured by the Bee livestream, as narrated by reporter Sam Stanton.
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Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler was detained while covering Stephon Clark protests. The detainment was captured by the Bee livestream, as narrated by reporter Sam Stanton.

Follow all the developments in the protests against the decision in the Stephon Clark shooting here

12:15 a.m.: Eighty-five people were arrested Monday night, police spokesman Vance Chandler said, on suspicion of unlawful assembly after police tried to break up an East Sacramento rally in remembrance of Stephon Clark.

Six were arrested near 51st Street and Folsom Boulevard, and 79 were arrested at the 51th Street overcrossing over Highway 50, Chandler said.

Officers gave at least 10 dispersal orders using megaphones and Long Range Accoustic Devices, or LRADs, Chandler said. At least one person will also face charges of resisting arrest.

“Each protest moving forward, we will evaluate the circumstance and make the best decision at that time to make sure we keep our community safe and allow people to express themselves in a peaceful manner,” Chandler said.

11:50 p.m.: Several of the remaining detainees are reportedly being transferred to the Sacramento County Main Jail. A Bee reporter is en route.

Police spokesman Vance Chandler is expected to speak at a press conference outside Trader Joe’s shortly.

11:25 p.m.: Bee reporter Dale Kasler has been released from police custody.

Kasler was detained after protesters were given orders to disperse, he said, though many felt they had nowhere to go. He identified himself as a reporter, but it made little difference.

“I held up my press credentials and said, ‘I’m a reporter for The Bee,’ and this guy said ‘okay’ and took me off,” Kasler said. “They said, ‘when doing mass detention, these kinds of things, we don’t pick and choose. Everybody goes.’”

Steinberg said he was “very disappointed” about Kasler’s arrest in a phone call with The Bee.

“I’m very disappointed with the way this ended. But I want to withhold judgment until I ask some serious questions in the morning. These are important questions,” Steinberg said. “It’s a reporter doing his job. This is extremely troubling to me.”

Many protesters were being hauled into three police vans and two shuttle busses at the time Kasler was released.

11:15 p.m.: More than 80 people have been arrested in connection with Monday night’s protests, Capt. Leong said.

11:05 p.m.: Bee reporter Dale Kasler’s hands have been freed, but he has not yet been released after an hour in police custody. Many protesters also remain detained.

Steinberg criticized the police’s response further and said he was upset it took so long to get Kasler out of custody.

“No matter what precipitated this order to disperse, no member of the press should be detained for covering a protest,” Steinberg said in a phone call.

10:50 p.m.: Mayor Darrell Steinberg questioned the police’s response to the protest in a text message to The Bee, but said he would wait to comment further.

“I’m very disappointed that the protest ended the way it did,” Steinberg said. “I have many questions about what caused the order to disperse and the subsequent arrests. I will withhold further comment until I get answers to these crucial questions tonight or tomorrow morning.”

10:40 p.m.: More than a dozen people are sitting in handcuffs on a Highway 50 overpass surrounded by riot police.

10:30 p.m.: More than 30 people have been arrested Monday night after at least five cars were keyed, Capt. Norm Leong said on Twitter.

10:20 p.m.: Police spokesman Vance Chandler offered little insight about Simmons and Kasler’s detentions.

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

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

10:10 p.m.: Police have detained Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler while Kasler covering the protest.

Kasler’s hands were twist-tied and he led away as other reporters shouted that he 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 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.

10 p.m.: Pastor Les Simmons of South Sacramento Christian Center has been taken away by police in Monday night’s protest.

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.

9:50 p.m.: Protesters have moved to an overpass over Highway 50, where they say they are surrounded by police on either side of the bridge. Several asked police where they are supposed to go.

9:40 p.m.: Police told protesters to disperse that if they did not disperse, they may be subject to lethal and less-lethal weapons. The crowd had dispersed somewhat but about 2/3 of the crowd remained near 51st Street and Folsom Boulevard, and said they would continue marching.

“Those who remain risk serious injury,” an officer said into a megaphone.

9:30 p.m.: At least two protesters have been arrested, according to eyewitness reports. Their charges are not currently known.

Capt. Norm Leong said officers had seen cars being keyed around the area of 46th and J street around the beginning of the rally. More backup was on its way, Leong said. Fox40 reported riot officers were leaving Golden 1 Center at about 9:20 p.m.

9:10 p.m.: Police are commanding the crowd to disperse after alleged acts of vandalism and are threatening the crowd with arrest, pepper spray or Tasing if they do not do so.

9 p.m.: About 100 officers in riot gear trailed the protesters as they marched back to the Trader Joe’s parking lot. They formed a horizontal line as marchers shouted back “you can’t stop a revolution!”

Protesters held cell phones aloft in tribute to Clark, who was shot while holding a cell phone that police thought was a gun, then pocketed the phones to hold their right fists in the air. They were outnumbered by the officers.

“This is what black mourning looks like. This is what black pain looks like,” one protestor said into the megaphone.

8:35 p.m.: The march reached a tenuous point when a middle-aged white man in a “Make America Great Again” hat appeared and began animatedly speaking to several of the protesters. One ripped the hat off his head, at which point he began yelling at others in the crowd not to touch him.

The man said he and his teenage daughter had come from Tahoe Park. He had wanted to conduct “a social experiment,” he said.

Original story:

As the uproar over the Stephon Clark case intensified, an activist group called The Table Sacramento marched Monday evening through East Sacramento.

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.”

Tensions escalated further during the march protesting the DA's verdict in the Stephon Clark case when Tahoe Park resident Dan Iverson arrived at 40th and J streets in a “Make America Great Again” hat on Monday, March 4, 2019.

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Dale Kasler covers climate change, the environment, economics and the convoluted world of California water. He also covers major enterprise stories for McClatchy’s Western newspapers. He joined The Bee in 1996 from the Des Moines Register and graduated from Northwestern University.
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