Sacramento Committee Delays Council Vote on Proposed Protest ‘Weapons Ban’ Ordinance

SACRAMENTO -- The city of Sacramento will not be moving forward with it’s proposed "weapons ban" for public protests -- at least not for right now.

With heavy police presence at City Hall, Tuesday's Law and Legislation Committee discussed the new proposed ordinance.

"Tried to learn some best practices from other cities on how they’ve been dealing with violence related to protests, and so that’s how this conversation came about," said Sacramento Police Deputy Chief Dave Peletta.

The ordinance was recommended by the city’s police department. It states items such as flagpoles, shields and fireworks are increasingly being used as weapons when protesters and counter-protesters clash.

"We have seen that type of material that would be prohibited in our ordinance used nationwide and in Sacramento and that is why we’re putting this forward," said Sacramento Police Lt. Jason Bassett.

"We are very aware that the decision in regard to Stephon Clark is coming soon," said resident Chris Larson.

But during public comment, many told the committee they see this new ordinance as a way to discourage protesting within the city ahead of the District Attorney’s decision on whether or not to criminally charge the two officers who killed Clark.

"Based on these new policies, Dr. Martin Luther King would not be able to have a peaceful protest in Sacramento and would surely be guaranteed to be arrested," said Betty Williams, president of the Greater Sacramento NAACP.

"I have threatened to be mauled by dogs. I have threatened to be raped. I have threatened to be murdered," said Tanya Faison, the founder of the Black Lives Matter Sacramento chapter.

Faison says the ordinance would leave protesters defenseless against those who may show up to do them harm.

"Nazis came to Sacramento and they stabbed people of color and that was illegal. And the police did not keep anybody safe at that Nazi rally," she said.

Ultimately, the committee decided the city council should not vote on the ordinance as it’s currently written, asking the police and city staff get more input from the public.

"Maybe we can get together and talk about an outreach strategy that we can use and try to see what we can fashion meeting with the community and then come back to this committee on this item," said Sacramento Councilman Jay Schenirer.

Since the committee meeting was during the middle of the day, the public comment turnout was low. Aside from members of the police, everyone who spoke was not in favor of the new ordinance.

The four city council members who sit on the committee all seemed on the fence, at least for the time being.

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