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Sacramento activist files lawsuit after being hit by sheriff’s SUV during Clark protest

Listen to the police radio traffic on night Stephon Clark protester got hit by sheriff’s SUV

Audio traffic from the Stephon Clark protest in Sacramento, CA, shows law enforcement worried about marchers and reported windows being broken and there was a report of a woman struck by a vehicle.
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Audio traffic from the Stephon Clark protest in Sacramento, CA, shows law enforcement worried about marchers and reported windows being broken and there was a report of a woman struck by a vehicle.

The Sacramento activist who was hit by a Sacramento County Sheriff Department patrol vehicle during a Stephon Clark protest last year filed a lawsuit Thursday, alleging the officer used “excessive and unreasonable force,” according to court documents.

Wanda Cleveland, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for injuries she said she suffered after the incident, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Cleveland was marching in a demonstration in the area of Florin Road and Fawn Way following the police shooting death of Stephon Clark on March 31, 2018. While she was crossing in front of the patrol vehicle, she was struck by the passenger side and the deputy drove off, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit names deputy Miguell Trejo as the defendant, saying Trejo “immediately left and fled the scene of the impact ... and continued to accelerate the SUV away from the scene,” according to the complaint.

Cleveland fell to the ground and was transported to an emergency room for treatment.

The lawsuit alleges Trejo did not stop following the collision, did not report it to the California Highway Patrol, which investigated the incident, and did not disclose his involvement to CHP investigators.

Sheriff Scott Jones called a news conference after the incident to defend the department and play – but not release publicly – dash-cam video of the incident.

Jones said the deputy may have been focused on the “threat” of protesters on the left side of his vehicle, and suggested “professional protesters” infiltrated the demonstration and caused the problems. The videos showed protesters stopping in front of the deputies’ vehicles, shouting and making hand gestures, and the vehicles ended up with several dents, he said.

The CHP report said Cleveland was “the cause of the collision,” saying she walked into the path of the SUV while carrying a protest sign and tried to stop the vehicle, according to a 42-page traffic collision report released to The Sacramento Bee in response to a Public Records Act request.

Sgt. Tess Deterding, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said she could not comment due to the pending litigation.

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