Scott Jones announced today that he will not seek a third term as the Sacramento County Sheriff. Short of an immediate recall from office, this might be the best news of 2017 for Sacramento County. Scott Jones is a major reason a Black Lives Matter chapter exists in Sacramento.
BLM Sacramento has become a thorn in the side of Scott Jones and the Sheriff department, ever since he was caught lying, in newsprint, about the murder of Adrienne Ludd in October 2015. After his unwillingness to meet simple demands for accountability and transparency in this case, BLM Sacramento members begin looking into Jones’ leadership of the department. We found scandal after scandal.
We submitted our first letter of demands with respect to Adrienne Ludd’s death…..you know things like but not limited to: releasing the police and autopsy reports; the names and history of the officers involved in the shooting; dash and body cam video footage of the incident; and that the case be investigated by the Inspector General.
While that was the first of many interactions with the Sheriff’s department, Scott Jones has since on several occasions personally dismissed and belittled our efforts to stand up for injustice in the Black community. Furthermore, Scott Jones has used intimidation tactics, classic bullying and other methods of silencing the voice of the people.
Most recently, Jones’ sent a personal attack letter to BLM Sacramento founder Tanya Faison, refusing to meet any of the Chapterś demands regarding recent use of force and police murder cases committed by Sheriffś deputies. Not only did he refuse to respond to any of the simple public request for demands, he wrote that Tanya was not a respected leader in the community, and indicated that he had relationships with black leaders he found to be more appropriate representatives of the black community.
We do not know who are those representatives Jones’ referenced, but over a dozen black leaders in Sacramento as well as leaders from other faith and cultural communities stood in a press conference on August 10, 2017, in solidarity with Tanya and Black Lives Matter Sacramento. Leader after leader stood and denounced Jones’ personal, unprofessional attack on a community leader.
Many of these organizations had serious issues with Jones’ tenure as Sheriff. Among the scandals personally researched by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, we found that Sheriff Scott Jones:
Refused to release requested information to the family of Adrienne Ludd
Forced inmates to bathe in toilet water
Used flash grenades in jail facilities
Failed to respond to reports of female inmates raped by department deputies
Settled a sexual harrassment case lodged against him
Presided over an arrest rate of Black people 3.5 times greater than that of their white counterparts
Costing the county millions in lawsuits for excessive force, rape, torture and death
Having direct ties to white supremacist hate group, FAIR
Illegally listening to cell calls without a warrant or court order
Profiting off the deportation of undocumented people
Denying family leave to women and disability accommodations to employees
Having ties to a local bail bonds company responsible for an underground drug operation
When Scott Jones ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress, BLM Sacramento ensured that the public knew his true record- we were the only organization in Sacramento to highlight how unfit Jones was for elected office. Our actions hit close to home: we held an action to inform the community at a park in his neighborhood, and a vigil on his block.
But Adrienneś murder was only the beginning.
In April of 2016 Patricia Thompson was arrested and abused by Sac PD and ultimately transported to the jail, where sheriff deputies pulled her hair from her scalp, stripped her naked and slammed her face onto the concrete floor breaking her eye socket.
In 2016, Desmond Phillips was arrested by SacPD and further abused by the Sheriff department, causing permeant trauma and seizures, which ultimately led to his death at the hand of the Chico Police department.
In May of 2017, three days apart the Sacramento Sheriff department was responsible for the deaths of Ryan Ellis and Mikel McIntyre. Ryan Ellis was without incident arrested for unknowingly violating a restraining order, and during transport the Sheriff reported that he kicked out the back window and jumped out of the vehicle all while hand-cuffed, causing terminal head trauma. Mikel McIntyre was shot in the back 5 times, while experiencing a mental health crisis.
And Nandi Can and Armani Lee, also both arrested by Sac PD, and were further abused after their arrival to the Sacramento jail.
BLM Sacramento has been on a mission to change the dynamics in which systems of authority interact with people of color, the vulnerable and disenfranchised; as well, open the eyes of the community to the possibilities of what Liberation and Abolition can look like in Sacramento, California, America and the world for Black people. It started with the local death of Adrienne Ludd and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s department, in October of 2015. With every fresh offense/issue and agency/systems we have been vocal and methodical about how we would establish our presence in any given situation. With respects to the Sacramento Sheriff’s department (in particular) and Scott Jones, we have come to the realization that this fight requires endurance because the battle is steep and uphill.
The struggle for black liberation in Sacramento continues… but it will wage on WITHOUT Scott Jones in office, largely due to the efforts of Black Lives Matter Sacramento to educate the community about his numerous, and often tragic, failures.