Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is condemning what he says was an “attack” on his home this past weekend.
On Saturday night, a group of about 50 individuals — most in black masks and clothing, many wearing helmets and protective body armor — convened at a park near the mayor’s south Sacramento home, then marched to his residence.
Out front, they began “throwing rocks, stealing security cameras, and destroying lighting fixtures” and “barricaded the front door and gate to his residence with landscaping debris that was removed from the yard,” according to the Sacramento Police Department.
Photos on Twitter suggest that individuals with the group also peeked inside Steinberg’s home.
The mayor said on Monday that people destroyed homemade artwork and shouted the names of his children while outside of his house.
“This was not protest. This was anarchy,” Steinberg wrote in a statement.
During the incident, members of the group decried the mayor’s approach with the unhoused community, posting a sign on his property that read “homelessness is not a crime.”
Steinberg and regional leaders have faced criticism in recent weeks after several unsheltered individuals died during a major rainstorm in late January. The city responded by opening warming centers as overnight temperatures dropped into the low 30s.
Advocates for unhoused people held a vigil last Friday outside City Hall to remember those who have died while living on the streets.
However, Steinberg and others have described the action at his home on Saturday as crossing the line, and the mayor’s communications director called it an act of “terrorism.”
“Violence and destruction has never been and never will be acceptable. By attacking my home, you attack my community. You will be held accountable for your actions,” Steinberg wrote.
The police department says it is investigating what happened on Saturday, with the chief himself writing “this was not a protest — it was a crime.”
‘[W]hat happened at the Mayor’s residence was not an expression of First Amendment rights. It was a group of people dedicated to the destruction of a local leader’s property,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn wrote.
The California Homeless Union, a coalition that has been demanding the recall of Steinberg after last month’s homeless deaths, declined to condemn vandalism at the mayor’s home. “A rock thrown in anger against Mayor Steinberg’s door or trash dumped on his front lawn, if that is what took place, pales by comparison to the indifference of Mr. Steinberg,” the group wrote in a statement on Sunday.
Saturday’s action at Steinberg’s home was not the first. Last summer, Black Lives Matter Sacramento organized a “sit in/die in” — where demonstrators lay in the street to protest police brutality against Black residents — on the heels of the police killing of George Floyd. Law enforcement said there were no arrests or vandalism at that demonstration, which took place during a citywide curfew and as National Guard patrolled downtown’s streets.
Steinberg called that protest a “powerful and necessary expression of the anger and demand for greater change in our city and in our country.” He added that he would “embrace the demand and expect to be judged by my actions, not just by my words.”
During his five years as mayor, Steinberg has invested unprecedented public dollars to help get unhoused people off the streets and into housing.
Some members of the group that showed up at his home on Saturday night have previously demonstrated in downtown Sacramento in the weeks after Election Day, when individuals in all black confronted supporters of former President Donald Trump and, occasionally, brawled violently with Proud Boys, a far-right extremist gang that helped with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The activists in all black are largely aligned with the far-left antifa ideology and black bloc groups. During previous actions, they have destroyed and vandalized government and corporate-owned buildings in downtown Sacramento, prompting law enforcement leaders to refer to their tactics as “mayhem” and “an attempted insurrection.”
Members of the group have defended their actions but have previously declined to speak with CapRadio. During their marches, they have shouted slogans decrying police — “all cops are bastards”— while demanding racial equity and justice.
Legal observers claim Sacramento law enforcement has unfairly targeted these groups while not doing enough to hold Proud Boys and other far-right militia groups accountable for violence after Election Day.
The debate over how to address the homelessness crisis will continue at City Hall. Councilmembers are scheduled to discuss a “homelessness master plan,” which could include options for emergency shelters and housing, at its meeting on Tuesday.
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