Sacramento police say a homeless protester who was arrested this weekend sent one of their officers to the hospital.
His name is Luke McRae, but on the streets of Sacramento, they call him Que.
Except Que isn’t on the streets of Sacramento. He’s locked up in the county jail.
What did he do? And what was done to him? And what’s the difference between what actually happened and what’s being said about what happened?
Here’s what the assistant district attorney said during McRae’s arraignment.
“Defendant, when he was in the process of being detained, flipped onto his back and began kicking officers who were attempting to shut the door,” she said.
McCrae is one of a number of homeless men and women who’ve camped out at Sacramento City Hall in protest of an ordinance criminalizing sleeping in Sacramento’s public spaces.
As with almost everything the protesters do, McRae’s arrest was recorded on video.
It is difficult to see any of the kicking that the protester mentioned in court.
It’s also difficult to see the potentially deadly chokehold McRae’s fellow protesters say police used at the beginning of his arrest.
“They throw him to the ground, they put their arm around his neck. I think we all remember Eric Garner,” said Trina Allen.
But Eric Garner died. McRae was, by all accounts, uninjured.
McRae had no criminal record. Now he’s charged with four counts of assaulting a peace officer for what happened during his arrest, with no charges to indicate what that arrest was for.
Allen is the one who shot the video of McRae’s arrest. She points out that she was at city hall camping too, exactly the same thing McRae was doing when he was arrested.
“I’m a light-skinned woman. They did not take me,” Allen said of the Sacramento police.
It’s now day 78 in the 24-hour-a-day protest outside Sacramento City Hall. And if the rhetoric and hyperbole are escalating, observers say that’s not the only thing.
“It might be because police officers are exasperated as much as anybody else by this,” said Cres Vellucci, of the National Lawyers Guild in Sacramento.
The escalation is prompting the National Lawyers Guild and others to call for a cooling-off period — for the city is step back from its no-camping ordinance.
But if the city did suspend the no-camping ordinance temporarily, there’s no guarantee the protests at city hall would stop.
“That would be something I’d have to talk to the other protesters about,” said James “Faygo” Clark, one of the protest organizers.
That’s not enough, at least so far, to get either side talking cease fire.
WARNING: Video contains explicit language.