Justice for Adriene: Not a Slogan or a Hashtag, but Our Promise to Him and His Family - Black Lives Matter Sacramento Weekly Blog Update

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Adriene Ludd, a Black man known for his philosophical and spiritual music and videos, was murdered by Sacramento County Sheriff Deputies Benjamin Green, David McEntire, and Troy Mohler on October 22nd 2015. He was taken from his family in a violent and suspicious act of aggression on the part of the Sheriff’s Department. To date, the department has 

maintained a secretive and contradictory stance that denies transparency, accountability, and justice to Adriene, his family, and our community at large.

The timeline of Adriene’s murder and the subsequent public response by law enforcement highlight how the Sacramento Sheriff’s department, in collusion with local media, has derailed the public conversation about a very sketchy and inconsistent story and attempted to bury all possibility of finding the truth—let alone achieving justice for Adriene. Attempted—but not accomplished. We are here. Our promise has no expiration date, and we will only increase our pressure tenfold as they attempt to silence our voices.

October 22nd, 2015: Adriene was stopped for expired tags and was then shot multiple times by officers of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. He was left uncovered on the cement for eleven hours.

Displaying how little the Sheriff’s Department respects the lives of those it takes.

October 22nd, 2015: Initially, Sheriff Scott Jones reported to the media that Adriene got out of his vehicle shooting at police, and they had no option other than firing back in self-defense. Jones goes on to say that Adriene attempted to fire on police officers in two separate instances, even suggesting that an officer may have been injured by a grazing bullet.

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October 24th, 2015: Jones changed his story when it was discovered that all bullets fired at the scene were from officers’ guns. His subsequent statement to the media was that Adriene’s gun must have “jammed,” and although there was no shoot-out, the officers still fired in self-defense because Adriene tried to retrieve a gun from inside his vehicle—while he had a working gun on his person.

In what world does this sound logical? Why isn’t local media concerned about the many inconsistencies in the stories told by the Sheriff’s Department? How does an officer go from being injured, to not one bullet coming from Adriene’s gun?  Were they lied to? Why don’t they care? Where is the investigative journalism our community deserves?

November 27th, 2015: Black Lives Matter Sacramento hosted a vigil in memory of Adriene for his family and friends. The hundred or more family and community members voiced their grief and concern over the unknown facts of the case, systemic racism on the part of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, and vowed to seek justice for Adriene.

November 29th, 2015: BLM Sacramento provided the Sheriff’s Department a list of demands in regard to Adriene’s murder. In a responding email, Sheriff Scott Jones requested to meet with BLM Sacramento. After refusing to agree to a simple request for transparency by allowing the meeting to be videotaped, Scott Jones canceled the meeting that he requested saying that he would instead send his Undersheriff. BLM declined, as a core principle of our work is to encourage transparency in law enforcement.

What is he hiding? Why hasn’t Rick Braziel, the new Inspector General, followed up on the investigation? Why isn’t the Board of Supervisors, the only oversight agency of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, demanding transparency from the Sheriff?

December 8th, 2015: Scott Jones released the names of the three officers involved in the shooting, but refused all other demands—even the police report typically given upon request.

December 28th, 2015: BLM Sacramento, in partnership with the ACLU, held a press conference to provide the public with the list of demands for Adriene.

January 14th, 2016: Sacramento Black Lives Matter sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to both the Sacramento Coroner’s and Sacramento County Sheriff’s office requesting an autopsy report, police report, and access to all dash-cam footage obtained at the scene on behalf of the community. All requests were denied.

We have a right to know what happened to Adriene.

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April 2016: Adriene’s mother sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to both the Sacramento County Coroner’s and Sacramento County Sheriff’s office requesting an autopsy report, police report, and access to all dash-cam footage obtained at the scene on behalf of the family. All requests were denied.

His mother has a right to know what happened to her child.

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After reviewing the aftermath of Adriene’s death, one thing is blatantly clear: The Sacramento County Sheriff’s department has no intention of providing the public with honest, transparent policing upon request or demand. Adriene’s family grieves daily for the partner, father, son, brother, friend that was lost to them, while Scott Jones floats on unchecked by local media and oversight boards. No longer. We see you Mr. Jones. We’ve asked, we’ve demanded—we’ve held vigils, press conferences, and followed all the typical conventions to obtain information about the events of October 22nd, 2015. Your many experiences as Sheriff has led you to believe that you can act unethically and get permission and/or absolution later, but you will never get our permission to kill with impunity, and our absolution will begin with your termination. If escalation in civil disobedience is what it takes to get justice for Adriene, then make no mistake about it, this will be our promise.

Except from: I Believe in Living

 

And, if I know anything at all,
it's that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.
It can be broken down.

by Assata Shakur

 

 


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