Sheriff’s SUV hits protester during vigil for man killed by police

April 1 (UPI) — A protester sustained minor injuries when she was struck by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department SUV during vigil and march for an unarmed man killed earlier in the week by police, the California Highway Patrol said.

The woman was identified as Wanda Cleveland, 61, by The State Hornet and The Sacramento Bee.

The vigil in South Sacramento, near a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department office, was held for Stephon Clark, who was killed in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18. Officers said they thought the black man had a gun, but only his cellphone was found nearby. He was shot eight times, including six times in the back.

Protesters had gathered around 8:30 p.m.

Around 9:15 p.m., a deputy inside the sheriff’s SUV said on the loudspeaker for protesters to “back away from my car.”

Cleveland, who was holding a “Stephon Clark Rest in Power” sign, was close to the curb when she walked in front of a sheriff’s vehicle and motioned the driver to stop, according to a video from the National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers obtained by CNN.

“The vehicle accelerated and struck her, accelerated very fast and struck her violently and she fell to the ground,” Guy Danilowitz, a legal observer who recorded the video, said to CNN. “It was a very fast acceleration, not the way you would move with people around.”

She fell and landed on her hip and shoulder, and hit her head. She was taken to Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center with bruises on her arm and the back of her head.

“He never even stopped. It was a hit and run. If I did that I’d be charged,” Cleveland told the Sacrmento Bee at the hospital. “It’s disregard for human life.”

Early Sunday morning, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton said two sheriff’s department vehicles were surrounded by protesters yelling and kicking the vehicles.

“The collision occurred while the patrol vehicle was traveling at slow speeds,” Hampton said.

The California Highway Patrol said it is investigating the incident.

Earlier Saturday, former Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes led demonstrators in a rally with Clark’s family across from City Hall.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is planning an independent investigation of the shooting.

The Sacramento County coroner’s initial autopsy report determined Clark died from multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death was homicide.

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