SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Police officers clad in riot gear raided an immigration protest on Tuesday.
Officers temporarily shut down N Street between Sixth and Seventh streets and got right to work, lifting heavy pieces of furniture including beds and couches, and it all up into truck beds.
“We’ve had complaints of their presence noise and inability to get through the sidewalk,” said Sacramento Police Capt. Norm Leong.
Police say they collected what’s been “illegally stored” for the last five days. But activists say they were just protesting President Trump’s immigration policies, and claim what may have looked like a campsite is just part of their message.
“Every couch is representative of every mother we want to bring comfort to who lost their child to hands of law enforcement. Every tent symbolizes a cage with a child in. And every banner a voice to an outside neighbor,” said Protestor Mackenzie Wilson.
Attorneys with the National Lawyer’s Guild say they plan to sue the police department, alleging the police raid violated protesters’ rights to free speech.
“This is a First Amendment protected activity,” said Legal Observer Cres Vellucci.
“The sidewalk is a path for people to walk. It has to be accessible for everyone else no freedom is unregulated in some way,” said Leong.
But protestors say they chose this busy downtown corner, to call out the immigration agents who work in the ICE office building next door.
“Folks are being held behind these walls – their families torn apart – it’s in our backyard,” said protester Hannah Williams.
Police gave the group advance notice of the eviction. Officers posted neon green notices along the gate, on furniture, and on signs.