Vargas: Protestors confront a Sacramento police officer on his wedding day

By Joe Vargas

I previously wrote about the shooting of Stephon Clark in the city of Sacramento on March 18, 2018. The shooting had continued to reverberate in the community with anger directed toward the officers involved.

The threats against the officers involved have continued to the point the department has still not officially identified them and those officers are not assigned to field duties.

On Saturday, Black Lives Matter protestors staged an unprecedented action directed at one of the officers involved in the shooting.

The protestors decided to disrupt the officer’s wedding. In an online video they can be seen entering a room where the officer is with his groomsmen just before the wedding.

“I think they need to be approached in spaces where they’re a little bit more vulnerable,” Tanya Faison, founder of the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter, told CBS13 in an interview.

“I just wonder if you started planning your wedding before you killed Stephon Clark or after? How have you been sleeping since March 18?” one person asked in the video provided by the protestors.

“I feel that our department has handled demonstrations and protests very well and we have taken great efforts to allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights but on this one, what is the purpose of this?” asked Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler.

Sacramento Police Association President Timothy Davis provided the following  statement: “The SPOA supports transparency within our Police Department. Transparency brings trust. Trust between our officers and the citizens they protect is an important aspect of a safe community. Our police officers are members of this community. They raise their families here. The send their children to schools here. They live their lives as a part of this community.”

“Transparency comes with responsibility. Officers deserve to be free from harassment by individuals seeking their own forms of justice. True accountability can only come from our impartial judicial system and from our elected government.”

This group travelled more than an hour outside of town to the wedding site. They planned to disrupt the wedding ceremony. They planned to confront the officer and they planned to share it with the world.

This wasn’t done with a political agenda. It wasn’t done with a desire to address issues or change policies. This wasn’t done in an attempt to seek justice. It was done out of obvious meanness and malice.

Actions such as this will only serve to isolate officers more from the communities they serve. These tactics should be condemned by community leaders and anyone who seeks true justice. They serve no purpose in fixing the real and perceived problems they are attempting to address.

Joe is a retired police captain. He can be reached at jvargas@behindthebadgeoc.com.