SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Amid a Jacob Blake social justice march, some government buildings in downtown Sacramento were vandalized Thursday night.
City Hall and a sheriff’s office building had graffiti, while the district attorney’s office had windows smashed. Several small fires were also started in the streets.
On Friday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones claimed many of the people who were involved were part of a well-organized group not from the area.
Surveillance video released by the district attorney’s office shows people smashing windows and attempting to start a fire inside the DA’s main office building.
“It is not a protest. It is an attempted insurrection,” Jones said.
Holding a press conference in front the Sacramento County Main Jail, Jones said the group’s only goal Thursday night was to create chaos.
“These people were comprised from locals, folks from around the region and, importantly, many who came from other national protests such as Portland to try to establish here in Sacramento what they have accomplished in other protests in other cities,” Jones said.
Jones said his investigators believe many who caused damage were from out of town because some said so on Facebook Live videos.
“These are the types of folks that showed up last night,” Jones said. “They have head gear, protective gear, they have ballistic vests, one is carrying a ballistic shield.”
In recent protests across the U.S., demonstrators have been injured by projectiles fired by law enforcement.
“Scott Jones is not having a press conference about the folks that are being violated out there when they’re protesting by his officers. We’re not talking about that,” said Sacramento community activist and founder of Voice of the Youth Berry Accius.
Accius said the group he saw had plenty of local people.
He believes the focus should not be on minor destruction, most of which was easily cleaned away by city crews early Friday morning.
“Remember why are we here? We’re here because officers who kill Black people, who paralyze Black people do not get arrested, do not get fired, do not get prosecuted. We’re here because of that,” Accius said.
Jones admitted earlier demonstrations in downtown over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin were mostly peaceful.
Ahead of Friday night, dozens of businesses are boarding up their windows along J Street. Although, some businesses, like Cornerstone Cafe and Bar, were taking their boards down.
“I kind of feel like we’re good,” said Valeri Simons.
Simons, who is a server at Cornerstone, said that’s because mainly government buildings were impacted Thursday night.
“Hopefully, it will be more of the peaceful protest instead of the angry style,” Simons said.
Jones said his jail was protected from vandalism because his deputies were stationed outside all night. For Friday night, he said even more county buildings in downtown will be guarded by deputies.
The sheriff also said he asked the National Guard to be deployed, though it would be up to Governor Gavin Newsom to grant that request.
On Friday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg spoke with reporters and defended the Sacramento Police Department’s handling of Thursday night. He said he was glad the police did not escalate things.
The mayor also said nobody should be politicizing what happened.