Sacramento Kings: Police to Take Bigger Role in Future Protests Outside Golden 1 Center

SACRAMENTO -- Protesters blocked the entrances to the Golden 1 Center on Tuesday and last Thursday, angering fans who sometimes confronted the determined demonstrators.

With another game Thursday night, some wonder if it will happen again.

"I think at this point it's just unfair to the people who want to go have a quiet night out and enjoy a game," said Sacramento Kings fan Lesa Stewart.

Sacramento police have stayed neutral during the protests in the plaza before the Kings games. That could all change Thursday.

"The plans for tomorrow's game will be modified so that we can make sure everything flows smoothly," said Detective Eddie Macaulay with the Sacramento Police Department.

The hope is that Kings fans will be allowed to get into the game and protesters will be allowed to demonstrate peacefully. If necessary, police say they will take a bigger role to ensure that happens.

"That's something we will be evaluating," Macaulay said. "We'll have management on the ground and available to make those calls as need be."

The Kings operate and provide their own security for the Golden 1 Center. The organization released an extended statement Wednesday that said in part:

"We've been working with the Mayor, law enforcement, and community leaders to continue to ensure the safety and security of fans at Thursday's game and future events. Together, we are committed to bringing guests into the arena safely and tomorrow's game will proceed as scheduled.

We have updated our security plan with the Sacramento Police Department and they have committed to ensure safe entry for all ticketed guests. This plan will include a significant police presence around the arena and through the plaza tomorrow. Security and ticket checks will continue at the perimeter of the plaza. To expedite entry, you are encouraged to arrive early and have your ticket ready to show staff."

Anyone attempting to enter the plaza Thursday and Saturday will be stopped unless they are a ticket holder.

"You know, it's always something we evaluate on how we can best change or add different resources to ensure everyone's safety," Macaulay said.