Joy Johnson, a pastor who is the head of Sacramento ACT – a faith-based advocacy organization – said the law gives police officers too much discretion.
“And there are some discrepancies in how it’s applied. I believe this new law would provide a more concrete definition,’’ Johnson said. “We’re trying to raise the public’s consciousness to see that, if you say you followed the law to the letter and the law says it’s justifiable to take the life of an unarmed person, then we believe the law needs re-examining.’’
Les Simmons, pastor of the South Sacramento Christian Center, is among the community leaders expected at Monday’s march. He was one of the clergy members arrested March 4 in what he, Johnson and others called misguided actions by the police.
Simmons said this past year has been emotionally challenging for his multi-ethnic congregation, which has had to process the Clark shooting, an 11-month-long wait for a DA’s verdict that disappointed many and the concurring decision by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra that no charges should be filed against Mercadal and Robinet.
Simmons said healing will come from relying on values such as accountability and justice, and Monday’s demonstration could be part of that process if handled properly.
“If it’s peaceful and done in the idea of love and community and belonging, I think that would represent lifting up the right theme – peacefully assembling and protesting,’’ he said. “Those things are healthy. They push for change.’’