ABC10 continues its ongoing weekly series with Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, getting a firsthand look at what it's like policing the streets of the Capital City.
Newly released body cam video shows kids cursing and harassing officers waiting for a tow truck to come remove a vehicle.
The video may be disturbing to some, but it's just one example of how quickly things can escalate during a traffic stop. And it’s hard to believe the kids in the video are only 12 years old, cursing out Sacramento Police Officers
Chris Thomas, ABC10: "Young folks behaving in ways that, I think you and I both know, if our momma was to see us behaving that way...”
Hahn: “I wouldn't be here!"
"We took that video to the community leaders in that area, and they immediately were willing to help," Hahn continued.
Community Leaders like Mervin Brookins, co-founder of the Brother to Brother organization.
ABC10: "You're saying you've been there done that?
Brookins: “Long time ago I made a mistake, ended up in prison. I came home with the deliberate intentions of giving back to my community and trying to right my wrongs.
ABC10: “So, what do you say then when you see these videos of young folks coming up cursing out officers, shadow boxing with them in their cars? What would you say to these young folks?”
Brookins: “Well, I saw that video. And the beautiful thing about that situation is that, prior to Chief Hahn, those young men would have been arrested and their life would have taken on a different trajectory."
With this type of verbal beat down, police knew they had to take some type of action.
"[Police] called the community and said, ‘This is the situation. Can you help?’ So, some members of Brother to Brother reached out to that family and now we're helping the young men get back on the right path," Brookins said.
"[Brother to Brother is] made up of individuals who at one time or another was on the wrong side of the law. We've come home and we're trying to give back in the best way we can, whether it's mentoring..."
Or hosting community youth sports leagues where police serve as coaches...handing out awards like this at the end of the season. The idea is simple
"When an incident happens, and an officer encounters somebody, chances are that officers [are] one of the ones coaching in that organization. They know that family, or now somebody who knows that family. So, rather than that being an arrest, they say, ‘I'm going to call your uncle.’ or ‘I'm going to call so and so,’ and it's really community policing and it's a beautiful thing,” said Brookins.
"Because, the bottom line is, the way that those kids were acting is not a recipe for success. So, regardless of whether it's a community leader or a police officer, whoever is best suited to get through to those kids and to hopefully change their behavior and get them on the right track is what's going to make us successful as a community," Hahn said.
Hahn insists, in tense exchanges like this, making an arrest in the moment can sometimes be counterproductive.
Hahn: "If you come from the perspective of an officer, and the kids were acting like that, do you think they would easily, willingly, submit to being detained in the squad car? My guess is probably not. And so, then that becomes a fight between a 6-foot 200-plus-pound police officer and a 12-year-old kid.”
ABC10: “And then you end up on national TV.”
Hahn: “Oh yeah, and so the climate now is making officers determine, in terms of purpose, is it better for me to just stand there? And I couldn't be more proud of the officer that was on that call."
After all, in just the last year we've witnessed massive protests sparked by the police shooting of Stephon Clark; the unarmed father of two killed by Sacramento Police. Officers said they thought he had a gun. It only turned out to be a cell phone.
Demonstrators marched on city hall and demanded changes from those in power.
ABC10: “I know the department handed over your findings from the investigation to the district attorney's office in October. The family of Stephon Clark released this statement, saying in part, ‘Although you mentioned a thorough investigation, all details have been deemed private to the public. Astonishingly, these details have even been completely concealed from the Clark Family, which does not promote transparency in the slightest,’ the family said. Your response?”
With the District Attorney expected to make a recommendation any day now on whether those officers will face criminal charges, Hahn speaks directly to the family and makes a pledge to the community.
ABC10 will tackle the Stephon Clark shooting in next week’s special report on Late News Tonight.
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