Crime - Sacto 911

He left his car idling at 7-Eleven. Now comes police video of an officer tackling him

The Sacramento Police Department released body-camera footage showing the arrest of a man who police say left his car running outside a 7-Eleven on Friday morning, an incident that ended with the officer tackling the man to the ground and arresting him.

The video release, which included a more than six-minute-long body camera clip and three surveillance camera videos, came hours after the Sacramento NAACP held a press conference with Craig Williams, the man arrested.

The group said the incident was part of an ongoing pattern of aggressive behavior by some of the department's rank and file officers toward people of color.

“At the end of the day, he shouldn't have been in jail," Betty Williams, the chapter's president, said during the press conference.

Craig Williams was arrested at the 7-Eleven on 43rd Avenue in South Land Park Friday morning after police say an officer tried to contact him for "multiple law violations," but Williams refused to talk to the officer and was uncooperative.

Williams was booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and leaving the ignition key in an unattended vehicle, police said. The Sacramento City code prohibits drivers from leaving a car unattended without stopping the engine and removing the key from the ignition.

The incident was captured by a witness and later posted onto Facebook, where it went viral.

"I still feel shocked and appalled," Williams, 40, said during the press conference. He was accompanied by his lawyer, Justin Ward.

The body camera footage released by the department starts with an officer pointing at a car and a person inside the 7-Eleven. As Williams comes out of the store, the officer opens a nearby car door and appears to turn off the vehicle.

A few seconds later, Williams goes back inside the store and the officer goes to his patrol vehicle to put a few items inside. The first 30 seconds of the video do not have audio because of a delay.

The officer then returns to the car and asks Williams for identification.

"I didn't break no law," Williams tells the officer. "You need an I.D. for what?"

The officer tells Williams that it's a misdemeanor to leave an unoccupied car running and that his music was playing loudly. The officer then tells Williams to put down his phone and moves to grab Williams' free arm.

The next part of the video is mostly obscured by the men's clothing as the officer asks Williams to "give me your arm." Williams continues to say he's done nothing wrong and records the interaction with a phone.

A surveillance video released by the department shows how the officer positions one of his legs in what looks to be an attempt to trip Williams to the ground. The effort is unsuccessful, so the officer drives Williams into the store's exterior wall, and the two go to the ground.

Williams is heard saying “I give up, I give up” a short time later. The witness video posted on Facebook by Williams' girlfriend shows how he extends both arms so the officer can handcuff him.

The officer is eventually able to handcuff Williams and walks him to his cruiser.

"These videos demonstrate how important it is for there to be a relationship of trust between a police department and the community it serves," the department said in the Wednesday press release accompanying the videos. "When that level of trust is absent, even minor incidents — such as a warning of a city code violation — can escalate into unpleasant and even dangerous events."

Ward, the attorney, told reporters Wednesday he believed Williams did not take the officer seriously because he didn't know he had committed a real offense. Williams returned to the store after the initial contact with the officer because he had left money inside, the lawyer said.

"Who here would think that is a crime, right?" Ward said about leaving a car idling. "I don't believe that Mr. Williams thought that the officer was being serious."

Williams was released from jail on his own recognizance early Saturday, Ward said. He is scheduled to appear in court later this month, the lawyer said.

At Wednesday's press conference, the NAACP's Williams urged Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert to refrain from filing charges in the case. Williams also demanded that the police department release body camera footage of the incident, which had not yet happened at the time of the press conference.

The department released the footage early Wednesday evening.

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