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'This is unwarranted…unjustified criminal behavior' | Dueling protests in Sacramento straining police resources

The strain on resources comes as the police department contends with a rise in violent crime.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A series of dueling protests at the State Capitol is taking its toll on police department resources, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said.

The protests have been happening every Saturday since the end of the Presidential Election in November. Police said the dueling protests consist of two opposing groups, who often end up fighting with each other.

Officials said some people in the groups intend to commit violent acts and vandalize the community. Police said that some members of both groups have continuously tried to confront each other in a violent manner despite officer efforts to keep them separated.

“This is not protesting. These acts are not demonstrating their constitutionally protected rights. This is unwarranted…unjustified criminal behavior,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said.

In a recent Saturday protest at the Capitol, more than 150 officers were deployed to keep the groups separated. Police said three officers had minor injuries from objects being thrown around and from having lasers pointed in their eyes. One officer injured an ankle saving a person from being attacked, and 10 vehicles were vandalized by members of a group. Hahn says the violence harms a city struggling with the coronavirus outbreak and a rash of homicides.

“If we can identify who is throwing bottles, we will arrest them because that is not a protest,” Hahn said.

RELATED: Protest against new state stay-at-home orders at state Capitol becomes violent

Police said no one has filed a report regarding assaults at this time, but efforts are underway to identify anyone participating in any crimes during the protests.

It translates to hundreds of officers, homicide and gang detectives, community outreach officers, and dispatchers being redeployed to monitor the protests.

"I've never seen anything like this," Hahn said.

The strain on resources comes as the police department contends with a rise in violent crime. Notably, police said there have been 40 homicides this year along with a 20% increase in aggravated assaults.

"Detectives who would normally follow-up on these cases have been tasked with protest duties every week," officials said in a news release.

Officials said there will be an increased police presence at future protests involving these groups.

Read more from ABC10

WATCH MORE: Chief Hahn Speaks Out on Civil Unrest in Sacramento