Video of a man who was arrested after police say he failed to cooperate with an officer has drawn sharp criticism by the Sacramento NAACP, which says the incident highlights an ongoing pattern of aggressive behavior by some of the department's rank and file officers toward people of color.
The man, identified by the local group as Craig Williams, was tackled to the ground by the patrolman and eventually arrested after he allegedly left his car running while stopping at a South Land Park 7-Eleven on Friday, the group says. He was booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and leaving 'the ignition key in an unattended vehicle,' police said.
Sacramento's NAACP President, Betty Williams, called on the Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert to not file charges against the man during a Wednesday press conference.
She additionally demanded that the police department release body camera footage of the incident and information about any complaints of racial profiling made against the officer.
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"I still feel shocked and appalled," Williams, 40, said during the press conference. He was accompanied by his lawyer, Justin Ward.
The incident was filmed and posted on Facebook the following day, with one video garnering more than 8,300 shares by Wednesday afternoon. Ward said he has collected additional witness videos of the incident.
The Sacramento City code prohibits drivers from leaving a car unattended without stopping the engine and removing the key from the ignition.
“At the end of the day, he shouldn't have been in jail," Betty Williams said during the press conference.
Sgt. Vance Chandler, a department spokesman, said he was not immediately available to answer more questions about the incident Wednesday afternoon.
"We’re looking at the whole event in its entirety," he said.
Williams was arrested at the 7-Eleven located on 43rd Avenue in South Land Park Friday morning after police say an officer tried to contact Williams for "multiple law violations" but he refused to talk to the officer and was uncooperative.
When the officer tried to detain the man, he still did not cooperate, according to police.
Ward said the officer saw Williams in the store, walked to put his things inside the patrol car, and then returned to where Williams was parked. The officer then turned off Williams' car, pointed at him while he was still in the store and asked him to come outside. Ward said the car was on, and that the officer turned it off for Williams.
"Who here would think that is a crime, right?" Ward said about the violation. "I don't believe that Mr. Williams thought that the officer was being serious."
Ward said Williams then returned to the store because he had left money inside.
A two-and-a-half minute video of a portion of the incident was posted to Facebook by Erin Ortiz, who identifies herself as Williams’ girlfriend. It shows Williams and a police officer standing in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven store, a few feet away from the door.
Williams is seen videotaping the incident as well, with a phone in one hand. Standing next to him, a Sacramento Police Department officer grasps onto his other arm.
“C’mon man, don’t grab me,” Williams is heard saying in the video.
Just over a minute into the clip, the officer pushes Williams into the store’s exterior wall and both men go to the ground.
Williams then says “I give up, I give up” a short time later, and extends both of his arms out so the officer can handcuff him. The officer escorts Williams toward a patrol car parked closer to the sidewalk. Sirens are heard nearby before the video ends.
Williams was released early the next day on his own recognizance, Ward said. He is scheduled to appear in court later this month, he added.