Sheriff Releases Dashcam Footage of Patrol Vehicle Striking Protester

SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones spoke Monday about an incident Saturday in which a patrol vehicle struck a protester.

Jones showed dashboard camera video from the two SUVs that were briefly surrounded by protesters on the 65th Street. The second vehicle clipped 61-year-old Wanda Cleveland.

“First of all, hit-and-run is a legal conclusion, obviously, and investigating agencies, all public safety agencies don’t have the luxury of coming up with a conclusion first and working backwards like we’ve seen a lot of in the last couple weeks," Jones said to the press. "So only if the facts support an actual hit-and-run would that be concluded by the CHP.”

The CHP is the lead agency investigating what happened and Sheriff Jones said the videos are pieces of evidence.

He doesn’t believe the dashcam videos are public record but allowed the credentialed press to view it Monday afternoon because of the "high public interest." He also said it was important to not just see what happened but to hear it.

“Scott Jones moved very quickly and tried to be as transparent as possible, and that’s to be applauded," said attorney Mark Reichel, who is representing Cleveland.

Cleveland, 61, spoke with FOX40 over the phone on Sunday but declined an on-camera interview. She remains in pain as she recovers at home and says she’s angry.

Reichel said in a statement Monday that Cleveland was attempting to get to safety on the sidewalk when she was hit.

"It is not possible that the officer did not see her," Reichel wrote on Monday. "It appears from all evidence that he hit her intentionally. He drove away from an injured woman intentionally."

Jones said his department’s intelligence unit has clear evidence that professional, outside agitators were brought in to create chaos Saturday night. Reichel rejects any claims that Cleveland is a "paid protester."

Jones said he hasn't spoken to the deputy who was driving, but that there was a "high likelihood he didn't know he collided with the protester." The sheriff added that the deputy may have been focused on the commotion to his left when he hit Cleveland.

The sheriff's department said demonstrators kicked and pounded both vehicles as they tried to get through the crowd, who had previously been protesting outside of the nearby sheriff's service station. Around 15 seconds after impact, the video picks up the sounds of the cruiser's back window being smashed in.

Jones went on to say the deputy may not have stopped out of fear for his safety.

“You know, there’s no disputes that these officers are going to have fear," Reichel said. "There’s fear on the part of the officers. Are they allowed to run over a 61-year-old grandmother who is trying to get out of the street?”

Meanwhile, as the incident is being investigated, the deputy involved continues to work their normal assignments.

Saturday's demonstration was one of many protests in the last two weeks after the shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark. Clark was killed by two Sacramento Police officers in his grandmother's backyard. The officers say they believe Clark pointed a gun at them, but he was only holding a cell phone.

Jones said Saturday's incident was "an unfortunate event that punctuated an otherwise fantastic evening," applauding the protesters for remaining mostly peaceful through the demonstration.

Protesters will be joining Black Lives Matter Sacramento at the District Attorney's Office Tuesday through Thursday. Black Lives Matter said on their event page that demonstrators would be gathering outside DA Anne Marie Shubert's office every week until charges are filed against the officers who killed Clark.