On September 9, Black Lives Matter Sacramento organized a press conference. The conference featured organizer Tanya Faison and five families who have lost loved ones at the hands of Sacramento law enforcement. The speakers expressed their desire to see Sacramento-area police departments disbanded. They also spoke of their desire for local government to stop inciting violence.
Say Their Names
The conference began with Faison listing the names of people who were killed at the hands of Sacramento law enforcement. Unfortunately, there were 16 names; almost all of which were men of color.
The speakers at this press conference were primarily mothers who spoke about the heartbreak and grief over losing their loved ones. One speaker was Francis Nevarez. She lost her daughter, Gabriella Nevarez, in 2014 after a car chase with the Citrus Heights Police Department became fatal. The police shot her 17 times.
“We need change. I’m so tired of seeing videos with encounters with police, and for some reason, it always ends up in death for my unarmed Black brothers and sisters,” said Francis Nevarez.
Christine Vang is the mother of Darell Richards. Richards was 19 when he was killed by the Sacramento Police Department in Curtis Park in 2018. Police believed he had a gun and body camera footage showed the police searching for him. Richards was armed with a pellet gun which is seen in the body camera footage after he was killed.
Vang stated that Richards was “going through a mental crisis.” Richards was receiving medication and he would hallucinate. Vang said that hundreds of thousands of families are affected by this and that law enforcement “are killing Black and Brown people.”
Black Lives Matter Sacramento is concerned about the amount of money going into the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Sacramento County received $181 million of aid money to fight the coronavirus. However, $104 million went to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for salaries and benefits.
A List Of Demands
Tanya Faison closed the conference with a list of demands. First, the police must be immediately disbanded. Additionally, allocations of funds to the Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department should be sent to communities that are over-policed. These communities include Oak Park, Meadowview, and Valley Hi.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento want local officials to stop inciting violence throughout the community. Officials need to stop labeling protesters as terrorists, especially since protesters are exercising their First Amendment rights. Also, disciplinary actions towards officers who have murdered or committed acts of violence should be immediate. The disciplinary action should be termination and such actions should be announced publicly. Lastly, the use of tear gas should be abolished. Tear gas has both short and long term effects. It is also especially harmful to women and their reproductive systems.
Faison then answered questions from the press. In regard to who would be solving crime if the police were to disband, Faison said crime would be solved by those who are trained to do so and would be conducted by people “that look like us.” Faison knows that the list of demands will not happen overnight but she and the organization will continue to fight for change. She knows that the police will not be disbanded overnight, hence the demands for disciplinary actions.