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Sacramento pays $15k settlement to man tackled by officer for leaving car idle

Craig Williams said he did not know he was breaking the law when he left his car running as he ran into a 7-Eleven to buy something on May 4, 2018.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The city of Sacramento paid a man $15,000 in a settlement two years after a police officer tackled the man for leaving his car idle in a 7-Eleven parking lot, according to documents.

The settlement, which was first reported by The Sacramento Bee and later confirmed by ABC10, was signed by the officer involved, Corey Johnson, in February 2020.

On May 4, 2018, Sacramento Police Officer Corey Johnson tackled Craig Williams to the ground while he left his car running outside of a 7-Eleven in South Land Park.

Williams said he left his car running in the parking lot as he ran inside to buy something saying that he did not know it was against the law to leave his car idle. In body camera footage later released by Sacramento Police Department, Williams can be heard arguing with Johnson that leaving his vehicle on unattended was is not against the law.

In California, leaving a car running can result in fines or and arrest.

A Sacramento Police officer confronted Williams about leaving the car on. The officer could be heard through his body camera, telling Williams, "I'm going to throw you on the ground here in a second," before following through with his threat. 

The confrontation took place two months after two Sacramento police officers shot and killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark in his grandmother's backyard, after a chase that police suspected Clark of damaging cars in the neighborhood. Officers claimed they believed Clark was holding a gun, but it was a cell phone.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert dropped charges against Williams. Williams filed a lawsuit against the Sacramento Police Department on May 3, 2018.

Williams' lawsuit claimed he, a Black man, was targetted by the Johnson, a white man, and that it played a role in his arrest. Williams said the city and the Sacramento Police officer violated a mixture of 10 different federal, state laws, including William's civil rights. Williams is a victim of excessive force, denial of medical care, and unreasonable search and seizure, according to the lawsuit. 

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