SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a move meant to promote police oversight, the City of Sacramento has hired its first-ever Inspector General. He will be responsible for independently investigating future use-of-force incidents that happen within the Sacramento Police Department.
Dwight White, 33, is two weeks into his new job as Sacramento's Inspector General.
"My job is to do a very thorough, independent investigation," White said.
White is coming to the Capitol city with about seven years of experience doing independent investigations involving the Chicago Police Department. Before that, he was a practicing attorney.
"I'm a little anxious, but I'm very confident in my abilities, confident in my role, excited to get started and doing good work," he said.
It's a new position approved by city council back in July 2020, on the heels of mass protests calling for changes in policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"We want you to stop killing us, we want you to stop harming our community, we want you to stop doing these things that are keeping us oppressed, that's what we want to end," Leia Schenk, Founder of EMPACT said. "He being one person, that makes him one piece of the puzzle."
Schenk, a community advocate, says, expectations are high in a community still grieving three years after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento Police in his grandmother's backyard. Officers say they thought Clark had a gun. It was a cell phone. The two officers involved were never charged.
"He has to understand that that pain has not gone away," Schenk said. "I would ask for him to have a humanitarian approach, understand that we are human, understand that you're dealing with real-life humans, that have real valid feelings of hurt and outrage."
White will not be responsible for looking at any old cases but he will independently investigate any future use-of-force incidents and make recommendations for officer firing or discipline in cases involving serious injury or death, including in-custody deaths. His findings will be made public, and while the city manager has the final say on discipline, he will consider White's reports.
"So I don't think there's one size fits all or a magic wand that will make anything better but I do definitely think that this is at least a step in the right direction of being timely, being independent and being transparent," White said.
And his message to activists like Schenk?
"My job is to be transparent and to keep the communication lines as open as possible, so I'm open to talk, I'm open to chat, if they need anything, they know where to find me," White said. "But please remember I have to be impartial as much as possible."
ABC10 asked Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn to weigh in on this story, but the department declined to comment.
To hear more from White, click here for his extended interview.
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