We need REAL police accountability, and we need it in a hurry, because we are losing lives fast. And no one governing our city seems to care.
On April 8, 2016 police murdered 40 year old Dazion Flenaugh. The police account of the circumstances surrounding his murder are bizarre, including the strange story that a handcuffed Dazion finds a pick ax, then stops to exchange it for two knives, all while being hunted by police. Yet, according to this police statement as reported in the Sacramento Bee, this is why Dazion had to die:
“At that point he verbally challenged the officers, and at that point officers fired their weapons,” Heinlein said. “He was struck and he is deceased.”
Words fail to describe the horror, that a human being is dead because he "verbally challenged" officers. Because he talked while Black.
Just this week on Monday April 11, Black Lives Matter Sacramento chapter founder Tanya Faison spoke at the ACLU Lobby Day (See video clips of her speech at the end of this post). She was there to speak in support of SB 1286, a bill sponsored by the ACLU that pushes for changes that create real accountability for police in use of force incidents, including murders by police. The bill will force law enforcement officers to immediately release all reports and video data to the public following a use of force incident.
BLM members were also invited to attend meetings with individual legislator’s aides, in which ACLU members educate the aides about several criminal justice bills, and then ask for the legislators' support.
At the rally and in the legislator meetings, BLM-Sac shared the story of Adrienne Ludd who was murdered by Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies; yet the sheriff refused to release any data, including the police report, autopsy report, and dash cam footage to anyone, not even the family of Adrienne Ludd. SB 1286 would take that decision away from law enforcement agencies, and require them to immediately release all of this information.
The bill would also create the ability for civilian police review boards to give real consequences to police officers and departments for misconduct. Currently, the Sacramento Community Police Commission has no influence on the Sacramento Police Department. Their recommendations are basically just suggestions, and the police department can take them or leave them.
The need for SB 1286 became disturbingly obvious later the same evening of the rally, when BLM-Sacramento members and several community members arrived for a scheduled Community Police Commission Board meeting.
This is a monthly meeting with the intent to improve community-police relations and decrease bias in policing. The commission members decided early on that they wanted to hold some meetings away from City Hall, within the many Sacramento neighborhoods.
BLM-Sac had been promoting the Meadowview meeting scheduled for April 11, 2016 for a full month, encouraging community members to come out and share their thoughts and views, to have a real voice in this conversation about policing in Sacramento. About 20 people showed as a result of these efforts- compared to the last meeting, when other than BLM members, there was only 1 community member at the meeting.
In the wake of Dazion's murder, instead of seizing this opportunity to show the community that they are there to be our voice, the Sacramento Community Police Commission Meeting was cancelled with no warning.
Community members showed up to a simple two line sign on letterhead, taped to the glass door of the building: Meeting Cancelled. Apparently, this board that is charged with improving community-police relations and making recommendations TO the police... was cancelled by the Sacramento Chief of Police.
It is difficult to understand how the commission convened to scrutinize police, can have their meetings cancelled by the police. Are they the voice of the Sacramento community, or are they consultants for the police department?
Undeterred, those who had taken time out of their busy schedules at the end of long, tired days, sat outside and made signs expressing how they feel about being silenced, and about losing Dazion to state violence.
The Police Commission meeting has apparently been rescheduled for April 21, at the same location: Pannell Community Center, 6:00 p.m. Please come. Your voice needs to be heard.
Don't forget about our event, co-sponsored with ANSWER Sacramento, on April 26. RSVP here to get info and updates about the event.
We will have a very chill, fun sign making party this coming FRIDAY April 15, to make signs for this event. Come out and meet everyone! You can try and make a sign as cute as hers. :) RSVP here for directions and information about sign making.
Check out Tanya's speech, in two clips: