I’m never going home. I’m dead. –Dazion Jerome Flenaugh
Watching Dazion begin to panic after being illegally detained in the back of a Sacramento police car, you can feel the injustice boil over into sheer terror. After the door slams shut on his freedom it opens to the history of abuse he experienced at the hands of law enforcement. Dazion told his mother that officers had been harassing him prior to his murder, and as an unhoused Black man it isn’t hard to imagine how he was treated. Every negative experience with police was with him in the back of that car. He thought they were trying to kill him—and he was right.
While Dazion must have felt so appallingly alone while caged, so vulnerable and fearful—he isn’t alone. All Black America is sitting in the back of that pressure cooker with him, living in a torrential state of anti-Black violence and panic so routine that folks just move through the day as trauma bears down on the soul. And what of white people? White supremacy surrounds the doors with its thin blue noose and collective self-serving denial—sealing his fate and flaunting its sociopathy.
Dazion was stolen. He was so wronged that they won’t even show the moment when he was murdered. They won’t give his family the police report, autopsy report, or basic respect as a group of people that lost a loved one. They are holding the doors shut on truth, justice, and humanity—because law enforcement is a tool of whiteness, a tool of oppression that was created to steal Black folks.
There will never be full accountability, let alone tangible justice, because Dazion is never going home. Dazion is dead. That cage is still in use though. That back seat is still doing its job of holding melanin. How long are we going to let its terror reign? It has been time to pull that noose off, rip those doors off the hinges, and unleash the compressed horror that Dazion and thousands of others have experienced.
Your son’s been shot—I’m like, what…? –Christina Robbins, mother of Dazion Jerome Flenaugh
Panic, deep and vile, with no words to describe the violence and trauma inflicted upon her soul that will terrorize her from April 8th, 2016 through eternity. When two plain clothes officers came to Christina Robbin’s house to tell her that her son was murdered by state violence, they were more interested in searching his belongings for potential evidence than providing her with details or comfort. Dazion’s family has been consistently ignored and traumatized by Sacramento Police Department. His father was never even officially informed that his son was dead. This is unacceptable.
Not one of them cared about my brother’s life. Nobody thought that my brother’s life was worth something. Nobody. –Damon Flenaugh, brother of Dazion Flenaugh.
The morning of April 8th, 2016 found Dazion confused and experiencing mental health issues. His family has said he was bipolar. Dazion was wandering around his neighborhood looking over people’s fences and into windows. A few community members, concerned for his safety, called Sacramento Police Department. Officers responded and after talking with him and recognizing that he needed assistance, they offered him a ride home to his mother’s house. Dazion sat down in the police car, then without warning, the responding officer shut the door—effectively illegally detaining him. Dazion had committed no crime at this point and showed zero aggression or agitation; however, after trying to open the car door and find a way out, he began to panic. Instead of immediately tending to Dazion’s concerns, the officer left him alone to go talk to other community members. When Dazion began to hit the walls of the vehicle desperately trying to free himself, the officer opened the door and said, “What are you doing, you freak?!?”
I don’t want to see him lying dead for no reason. He is dead for no damn reason. –Christina Robbins, mother of Dazion Flenaugh
Dazion ran for his life. He ran from that cage of white supremacy and tried to escape the terror that lay before him, but questioning their authority only emboldened their violence and Sacramento PD hunted him.
There's some nut, tweak, just freaking out. He's back there somewhere. If you see him, just hit him with a baseball bat a couple times. That'll mellow him out. –Sacramento Peace Officer to a community bystander
There was never a time they protected or served Dazion. He needed help, but was shown only contempt. Dazion, filled with the terror of being trapped, taunted, incarcerated, and centuries of anti-Black racism, defended himself in the only way he had available to him.
What do you do when law enforcement kills someone you love? Do you tell the police on the police? –Damon Flenaugh, brother of Dazion Flenaugh
They said he charged them with two knifes he gathered by breaking into a neighbor’s home—the only part excluded from the video—and their lives were in danger. They also initially said no video existed at all. Then they said that officers were crying, traumatized, and only wanted to help him, but you can watch them taunt him, mock his panic, joke about the sight of his body bleeding out on the street, and finally cuff him after they put seven bullets in his body. No immediate life saving measures were taken for 10 minutes after he was shot—because just like Dazion knew—their presence was his death sentence.
Families shouldn’t have to fight for answers. –Tanya Faison, founder of BLM Sacramento
In 2015, Sacramento City Council and Mayor Johnson created the Sacramento Community Police Commission to join Francine Tournuur and her Office of Public Safety and Accountability. In not one instance has either entity provided full transparency during instances of police misconduct, or held any LEO or the department responsible for any abusive behavior. The commission doesn’t even have to power to look at an ongoing investigation. Meanwhile Sac PD murdered two Black men experiencing mental health issues and has been involved in several other police brutality and overreach incidences.
Sacramento Black Lives Matter in coalition with Law Enforcement Accountability Directive (LEAD), and other community organizations banded together to demand the community commission have investigative, subpoena, and disciplinary power. After many council meetings, presentations, protests, vigils, and fieldtrips to view other working police oversight commissions, the city council came back with a whitewashed ordinance that supplied the commission no teeth, but did provide the families and public at large access to dash and body camera video taken during critical incidents.
You guys scooped my baby off the streets and I have not seen him since. I don’t know if that is my son in that box. But I don’t have a choice. My son left here and I never seen him again. –Christina Robbins, mother of Dazion Flenaugh
It took nine months and a lawyer to get Dazion’s family access to the video Francine Tournour said didn’t exist.
Nine months so Christina Robbins could watch her baby die in the streets as officers laughed—and NEVER see any proof that less lethal options weren’t called for.
To add insult to injury, the financial burden to retrieve his body from the morgue and lay him to rest was left 100% in the hands of the people he was stolen from. After consistent public pressure from BLM Sacramento, Mayor Johnson agreed to pay the associated fees under duress.
Dazion was laid to rest on a Saturday in July—just a few days after Sac PD murdered Joseph Mann.
He didn’t deserve to die the way he did. –Louis Flenaugh, father of Dazion Flenaugh
No, he didn’t, not at all. Dazion should be alive today, and would be alive without the anti-Black racism of Sacramento Police Department.
Our new police chief, Brian Louie, offers condolences to the Flenaugh family. Fuck him.
Our new city manager, Howard Chan, hasn’t fired one damn officer. Fuck him.
Our new mayor, Darrel Steinberg, thinks it is reprehensible to call murderers “murderers” because they executed Dazion with a uniform on. Fuck him.
Our DA, Anne Schubert, consistently upholds white supremacy and has never held an officer responsible for their vicious actions. Fuck her.
If they are not serving us, then we can no longer serve them—or let them serve themselves.
We can do better. We will do better. We will hold these fools accountable for their anti-Black violence and create the community alternatives to Black death. This struggle for liberation will see the end of centuries old panic-filled cages and all Black lives will matter, because there is no other honorable path, and Dazion’s spirit has already lit the way.
Dazion, you were lost on that terrible day, scared, and in need of a helping hand to find you. Not found, you were, instead, kidnapped by law enforcement, detained in the back of a Sacramento Police Department vehicle without committing any crime, terrorized, and gas-lit into more erratic behavior. Your state of mind deteriorated as they tightened their oppressive grip on you. Did you fear for your life?
We lost you to their relentless bullets, their inexcusably poor judgement, their assumptions about the dangerousness of your Black face.
What we will never lose is the will and determination to rise up and slay the anti-Black beast that took you from us, to reclaim our losses, take back our communities, and achieve justice for those stolen from us.
Dazion, you were ripped from the arms of your loved ones, but we will find you in our cries for liberation. We will find you in the faces of those born in the equitable world, we swear to you, we will create.
Upcoming Events: Community Alternatives to Police
Saturday April 15th from 6-8 *** Robbie Waters Library
No Police Allowed
No Politicians Allowed
No Media Allowed
If you haven't been to a meeting yet, make sure you come!
If you have? Let's get to work this Saturday!
This is the 5th Community Alternatives to Police meeting and we are ready to start building an actual structure to replace our police with our community.
We will be breaking into groups, creating teams, and setting up how teams will be communicating.
We are over-policed.
We are not treated with dignity and respect by our public servants.
They come into our neighborhoods and we no longer have safe spaces.
We are criminalized when we are breaking no laws.
We hear a lot of ideas on how to prevent police violence on Black folks.
We talk a lot about restorative justice, community oversight, police commissions, reform....
What does it look like when we take it upon ourselves to protect our communities from the police, while maintaining actual peace in our communities?
What does it look like when we take it upon ourselves to de-escalate situations the right way. While keeping dignity and respect for our fellow community members?
What does it look like when we care for, instead of criminalize, those without homes or those with mental challenges?
How do you envision it to work?
Let's talk about it as a community.
From there we can build a structure that helps to end state violence on Black folks.
Let's take our communities back!