Emergency meeting was ‘discussion’ on how to handle future protests, Mayor Steinberg says

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg held a virtual meeting to talk about how the city and police will be handling any upcoming protests. 

Steinberg said the sudden meeting was prompted by Tuesday’s protest, where some took to the streets in solidarity for Daunte Wright, who was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer.

Sacramento police say there was some vandalism, but nothing compared to last year when crowds broke store shop windows and vandalized other areas of the city.

“We uphold peaceful protests, but at the same time we are gonna be very clear we won’t accept or tolerate … destroying property or hurting people,” Steinberg said. 

According to Steinberg, there were no “firm decisions” made, and the emergency closed-session meeting was just the “beginning of a discussion.”

“We want to be prepared because we think that gives us the best chance to respect and uphold the people who come out to make sure their voice is heard and at the same time protect people and protect property as well,” Steinberg said. 

What would call for police intervention into protests was a point of contention, Steinberg noted. 

“The balance is this … one perspective is this that the police escalate and the other perspective is that the police are not doing enough,” Steinberg said. “And people in our community  have very different points of view about how to we as a city should deal with these very difficult and sensitive issues.” 

Steinberg added that property owners want police to “intervene right away”, but others — and even police — say there is a “real risk in intervening too quickly with massive numbers of people could actually result in people getting hurt or killed.”

During last year’s protests, the California National Guard had even been brought into Sacramento. With potential protests in the future, some wondered if the city would again see their deployment.

According to Steinberg, using the national guard is a “last resort.” 

“We want to be prepared and we want to always, always — and I know the police department chief believes this too — we always want to focus on deescalation wherever possible,” Steinberg said. 

On the use of tear gas and other projectiles by officers, Steinberg said those tactics “ought to be a very last resort.” 

Last year, Sacramento saw a lawsuit filed against them over projectiles fired during protests.

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