During protests over the Sacramento, California, police shooting of Stephon Clark on Saturday night, a Sacramento County sheriff’s car struck a protester in what critics are calling a “hit and run.”
Video from the scene, taken by legal observer Guy Danilowitz, shows two police cars, sirens and lights on, surrounded by protesters who were chanting and marching at a vigil honoring Clark and other victims of police shootings. At one point, the police cars suddenly sped up — and one of the vehicles hit a protester, identified as Wanda Cleveland by the Sacramento Bee.
“He never even stopped. It was a hit and run. If I did that I’d be charged,” Cleveland told the Sacramento Bee while at the hospital. “It’s disregard for human life.”
Cleveland said she was trying to get to the curb after cops in the first vehicle told people to move aside, because her arthritis made her knees weak. The protests continued after the collision, with some demonstrators shutting down traffic at an intersection.
A sheriff’s spokesperson confirmed the incident in a press release on Sunday morning. The release said that the vehicles were surrounded by protesters who were yelling and kicking the cars, causing “scratches, dents, and a shattered rear window.” The sheriff’s release did not explain why the vehicle sped up even as at least one person was in front of it — though the department said that the collision happened at “slow speeds.” An internal investigation is underway, and the California Highway Patrol is also investigating.
Clark was shot on March 18 in Sacramento in the backyard of his grandparents’ house, when police mistook a cellphone he was holding for a gun. The officers who opened fire — shooting 20 rounds total — said they believed Clark was advancing toward them and posed a threat. According to an autopsy commissioned by Clark’s family, Clark was hit eight times from behind or the side.
Since the shooting, protesters have taken to the streets in Sacramento claiming that the shooting is yet another example of police using excessive force against a black man, and protesting the broader racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
For more on the Sacramento police shooting of Stephon Clark, read Vox’s explainer.