Sacramento City Council Call-In Action
Give Public Comment to City Council: City Police Response to White Supremacists in Sacramento
This document contains instructions, tips, an example script, and links to further resources.
January 19, 2021 @5PM
The City of Sacramento has requested the Sacramento Police Department to present their response to white supremacist protests at the state capitol, and has asked for the public to call-in to discuss concerns.
This business as-usual agenda item is not nearly enough given the danger of escalated white supremacist presence in our city, and given the disparate police response to white supremacist’s actions compared to Black Lives Matter protests. But it is an opportunity to educate City Council about just how impactful and harmful their inaction and the police response has been. It is also an opportunity to ask for a more appropriate community forum to address violent policing at protests.
First, the Sacramento City Police will make a presentation during Item #16 to the City Council.
Police Presentation link: MetaViewer.php (granicus.com)
Second, the Mayor will open the phone lines for Public Comment.
Call (916) 808-7213 and Dial 3 to Make a Comment on Item 16
Third, City Councilmembers will ask questions to Sacramento City Police and perhaps declare next steps.
Call-in before item #16. City council will cut off public comment as soon as the comment is called. We anticipate waiting awhile before being able to speak.
If you would like to participate anonymously, we will report stories to city council without using names or identifying information. Send your information to NLG Sacramento attorney email@example.com. We know many do not feel safe, given the bias and retaliatory tactics of local police.
When you are calling-in for public comment, law enforcement is listening. Please be careful not to say anything that law enforcement may use to surveil or incriminate you, your friends, or any of our community members. We have multiple reports of people being harassed by law enforcement after participating in public forums such as this. If you would like advice on content you are unsure of, please contact National Lawyers’ Guild: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lawyers’ Committee: email@example.com.
The expectation is that the police presentation will look a lot like the video the Department posted on their Twitter: https://twitter.com/SacPolice/status/1350201938214674433?s=20, which is chock-a-block full of inaccuracies.
Community and self-care before, during, and after the city council meeting: It can be difficult, and retraumatizing for those of us who experienced violence by the hands of the Sacramento City police, to watch city officials and law enforcement lie about events or spin the harm they caused into something good. Please be prepared to take steps you need to stay healthy during this process.
(Example) Talking Points:
Disparities in police response:
Every week for the last two months, Proud Boys, Trump supporters, and other white supremacists have circled the State Capitol building to protest the presidential election outcome. There are many substantiated reports of Proud Boys harassing pedestrians of color, unhoused people, and downtown residents. There are even reports and videos of physical attacks. The Sacramento police have not intervened.
The city's police response to white supremacist groups post-election is in stark contrast to the way police brutalized Sacramentans who protested police brutality last summer after George Floyd's very public and horrifying execution by Minneapolis police. Sacramento police, supported by the National Guard, responded with ruthless force against protesters without provocation or serious threat of violence from protesters. Many people in our city are still living with the physical and psychological harms from these events.
Even during the Stop the Steal rallies, the police treated white supremacist groups differently than the counterprotesters. Up until very recently, the police only arrested counter-protesters. During the events, the police would have their backs to white supremacist groups and only monitor the counterprotesters. Sacramento City police only tracked counter-protester license plates. In fact, the white supremacist group covered their license plates (an illegal act) with no repercussions from law enforcement. After the events, the police were only surveilling (and raiding homes of) counter-protesters.
Sacramento does not want more police resources or more police to address these disparities. This is not an issue of “a few bad apples” or “a few bad actors,” but rather an issue of fundamentally racist policing in Sacramento. The only way to end disparate policing is to reduce police contact with the public altogether.
Police are increasing the danger:
In some cases, Sacramento City police prevented counter-protesters from leaving when white supremacist groups encircled them.
Residents of the Downtown area are fearful of leaving their homes when white supremacist groups have a heavy presence with no clear direction or statement from the city or police condemning white supremacists.
White supremacist groups have harassed and harmed unhoused people and passersby without intervention from police.
Police are surveilling and harassing people who protest:
The harassment of counter-protesters is a form of political repression and has a chilling effect on free speech, which is prohibited by the First Amendment.
Sacramento city police are showing up at homes of counter-protesters and knocking down doors.
Antiracist and Antifascist protesters report that police, who they have never met, are calling them out by name when they are in downtown Sacramento.
Collective psychological trauma:
The police response to protesters doesn’t just put people at risk of physical violence, but risk of serious psychological trauma.
This is not a single-issue concern that can be addressed in a single city-council meeting; it has been ongoing for years.
This city council meeting risks retraumatizing people without a trauma-informed approach to addressing violent and disparate policing.
Police are white supremacists, too:
The city must address that some of their law enforcement are white supremacists, too.
The Proud Boys posted videos of an officer telling them, “we’ve got your back!”
And there are other examples of the police expressing their support and protection of white supremacist demonstrators, like when a Proud Boy spit on a counterprotester while one police officer stared at the counterprotester and said: “I didn’t see anything.”
The City deserves a special meeting for these issues:
An agenda item at the end of a business as-usual meeting is insufficient for the depth of these issues.
Were Sacramento police officers present during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s capitol?
What are the policies and procedures for political expressions of law enforcement officers who are in uniform? When they are not in uniform?
How is Sacramento screening officers for their allegiance to white supremacy?
Will the city explain the disparate treatment of people protesting police violence against Black people, and the treatment of white supremacist groups who are protesting the validity of a presidential election?
What criteria does the city use to surveil people who are exercising their First Amendment rights?
How do the police and city determine if danger is present during a protest?