SACRAMENTO — After dozens of people were arrested and cited following a demonstration Monday night in an affluent East Sacramento neighborhood, many legal experts say it’s unlikely everyone in that group will be prosecuted.
“They’re not going to be able to prove that anybody did anything that’s illegal that they can properly be punished for,” John Sims, a constitutional law professor at the McGeorge School of Law, told FOX40 on Wednesday.
Although there are allegations that some in the crowd were keying cars, Sims says the majority of people have been charged with refusing to disperse, an option to leave they may not have even had.
“They’re not going to prosecute people that are said to have ignored a request to disperse when it’s not at all clear that people really knew that and it’s not clear they had any place to go,” Sims said.
Meanwhile, the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability says it has gotten several complaints from members of the public about Monday night’s mass arrests and it will conduct its own investigation into the incident.
“The review will be done as expeditiously as possible, making sure that we can inform the community without compromising the integrity of the review itself,” Office of Public Safety Accountability Director Francine Tournour said.
Tournour says the police department is cooperating with the investigation, and they’re looking for input from the community.
“We welcome anyone to come forward who feel like they have something to share, and it’s not necessarily those who were a part of the protest,” she said. “It could have been someone watching on a live feed or just some of the neighbors who saw things.”
Meanwhile, former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis says officers may have made the call to make mass arrests in order to avoid greater public risk.
“Property damage, in general, will occur, injury to personnel, to the people protesting who have a right to do that, and it’s the duty of the police to protect that right but when it gets to the point of laws being violated, there’s also a duty to interfere,” McGinnis said.
At least three journalists were arrested Monday night, along with several clergy members.