'It happens here' says Sacramento Black Lives Matter leader
Sixty protesters affiliated with the Sacramento Black Lives Matters group rallied outside of the Sacramento Police Department headquarters Saturday afternoon to call for greater scrutiny of local officer-involved shootings.
The local movement – like similar groups across the country – has been highly active since high-profile fatal police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. The noon to 2 p.m. protest was peaceful, with little interaction with law enforcement or opposition.
“Over the last week or so we’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the police deaths across the country. We’ve heard a lot of community leaders and politicians say, ‘It could happen in Sacramento,’ ”said Tanya Fasion, one of the founders of the local Black Lives Matter group. “We’re out here because it is happening in Sacramento, and we want to make sure everybody is aware of that.”
The group says greater transparency is needed in officer-involved shootings. Families of police shootings should have access to police reports, without having to sue to obtain them, Fasion said. One of the cases deserving greater scrutiny is the April 8 fatal shooting of Dazion Flenaugh, 40. Police say Flenaugh escaped police custody, then armed himself with knives before charging officers. The department has not released video evidence from the scene.
Police Chief Sam Somers Jr. said in an earlier interview that the department does not release body camera or car camera footage to preserve the integrity of its cases and to protect the privacy of the public.
“We catch people normally at their worst moment. We’re not into making it a voyerous process and dissuading people from calling law enforcement,” Somers said. “All of our video, when there is something to be adjudicated, goes to the courts, so it’s not like it’s withheld.”