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Woman At Stephon Clark Vigil Is Struck By Sheriff's Vehicle

Black Lives Matter activists in Sacramento gathered on Friday to protest the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was fatally wounded by police. At a vigil for Clark the next day, a woman was hit by a vehicle.

She was there to remember the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of Sacramento police officers. But during the vigil for Stephon Clark, she was struck by a Sacramento County Sheriff Department vehicle.

The incident occurred on Saturday night. One video shared on Twitter shows people carrying signs of protest around sheriff vehicles. A voice on a megaphone says, "Back away from my vehicle" four times. Another voice can be heard saying, "Back away from my car" before the activist is knocked down to the curb.

The woman is identified as Wanda Cleveland, a 61-year-old with a previous medical condition, reported The State Hornet.

She fell on her hip and shoulder, hitting her head, and was taken to the hospital, said the Hornet. Cleveland had bruises on her arm and head but was released after midnight, The Sacramento Bee reported.

"He never even stopped. It was a hit and run. If I did that I'd be charged," Cleveland said in the hospital according The Sacramento Bee. "It's disregard for human life."

Outrage has been ongoing since Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man was killed by two Sacramento police officers in his grandparents' backyard on March 18. An autopsy report revealed that Clark was shot eight times, with most of the bullets striking his back.

His death has triggered anger across the city. Protestors stopped the flow of traffic on Interstate-5 and blocked thousands of spectators from entering into a Sacramento Kings basketball game.

After the collision, both vehicles were reported to have driven away, according to Capital Public Radio. Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Shaun Hampton texted to the radio station that their departure was prompted by "safety concerns."

"As protesters approached both of the marked vehicles, they began yelling while pounding and kicking the vehicles' exterior," Hampton told the station. One of the vehicle's windows was broken, said Hampton, "likely struck by a protester with an object."

Tanya Faison, founder of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, said the organization stands in solidarity with the community. In an emailed statement, she said the authorities' departure after the incident was "another glaring example of the dehumanization of black lives by law enforcement; a state bodyguard intended to protect and serve."

A twitter account by the name of @BLMSacramento tweeted:

A highway patrol officer told The New York Times that it was investigating a collision that occurred that night on the corner where the protest took place.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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