SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A total of 84 people were arrested Monday night after protesters marched through the streets of Sacramento. Those arrests included pastors, community leaders, and three journalists.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is now requesting an independent investigation of the arrests, asking several involved about the circumstances of the arrests and if any of the journalists would have their citations removed.
Steinberg released a statement Tuesday saying, ” I want to guarantee the right of peaceful protest and freedom of the press while simultaneously protecting public safety.”
A big question surrounding Monday night is how investigators will decide if Sacramento police officers violated any rights or official policies.
CBS13 asked Sacramento Police if there are any official policies on protest arrests. The police department said their policy is not immediately available, so we have put in a public records request.
Officers did confirm there is a threshold for making arrests, which varies from protest to protest. However, they could not comment on whether the threshold was met Monday night because the investigation is ongoing.
Neither the International Association of Chiefs of Police nor the California Police Chiefs Association could provide written guidance or best practices on state or national policies on arrests during a protest.
The president of the California Police Chiefs Association did confirm these policies differ between agencies and jurisdictions. Some, such as San Francisco and Berkeley, may have higher thresholds for arrests.
Ultimately, it’s the chief’s responsibility to implement and oversee protest policies. Police pointed out that while people have the right to assemble and to practice free speech, officers have a duty to protect public safety and prevent property damage.
The Director of the Office of Public Safety Accountability, Francine Tournour, said she’ll oversee the investigation into Monday night’s arrests. She admitted she does not know what Sacramento’s policy is or if they followed it Monday night.
She said she’ll begin the investigation by asking what the official plan was, if the response deviated, and if so, why?