Sacramento City Council was forced to shut down yesterday evening after a major disturbance took place in the council chambers. Protesting last week’s police shooting death of Darell Richards, members of Black Lives Matter could be seen shouting curse words at the mayor as they refrained from sitting in their seats.
During the meeting, protesters demanded city leaders address the recent police shootings of black men as well as release the address of the police officer who shot him. “They had families… They had people who loved them. But, everyone wants to paint them as undesirable people who deserved to die.” said Anamaria Ragland, who attended the meeting.
The meeting, which was scheduled to last about an hour, had to be cut short after Mayor Darrell Steinberg felt there was too much chaos to maintain a respectful discussion. “I will both respect the right of people to freely speak their mind, whether they’re angry, or not, whether they disagree with me or any others” Steinberg said. “At the same time, we’re going to enforce the reasonable rules that say you have to respect the right of others.”
Many members of the Sacramento Black Lives Matter group believe police officers are deliberately targeting black men and that this shooting was just another example. This isn’t the first time Black Lives Matter have sparked a fray within the City Council. Last April, another Council meeting had to be rescheduled after the shooting of Stephon Clark. His brother Stevante Clark attended a hearing where he dodged a police officer before jumping onto the Mayor’s desk and screaming.
Despite the recent showings by the group within the Sacramento City Council, many people are confused as to why the group has become so enraged over these particular instances. In the case of Darell Richards, “Officers observed the suspect with a gun in his hand and ordered him to drop his weapon. The suspect pointed his weapon at officers, who then fired at the suspect,” police said. Officers would later discover the gun pointed at them was only a pellet gun, however its all black appearance resembled a more deadly firearm. In the case of Stephon Clark, it should be noted one of the two officers who shot him was also black. None of the officers was charged and all have since returned to work.
Mayor Steinberg declined to comment on how he would address further altercations, should they happen. The City Council is scheduled to meet again next week.
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