County rangers detain Black Zebra journalist documenting sweeps which regularly upend unhoused communities

Robert J Hansen
BZIT member detained by a Sacramento County Ranger while documenting the County conducting sweeps of unhoused communities on April 11, 2023.Photo by(Courtesy of BZIT)

Sacramento County Rangers detained a member of Black Zebra, a local independent media group, while documenting a violent arrest of an unhoused resident during a sweep on Monday.

The incident can be seen on Black Zebra’s Instagram.

“Right before the recording started,” said a statement from Black Zebra. “The ranger tackled a resident and slammed his face into the concrete, breaking his glasses before arresting him.”

The last two weeks, Black Zebra has been documenting Sacramento County sweeps of an unhoused community of Garden Highway, also known as the island community.

“Sacramento County Rangers have been harassing and ticketing, while carrying out massive sweeps and demolishing this entire community,” Black Zebra said. 

BZIT said Rangers and police have been pushing its members around for the two weeks documenting these “violent sweeps” happening across Sacramento.

“They wouldn’t let me get back in to get the things I needed,” one man said. “They just set me aside and crushed everything I had.”

The man said Rangers and clean up crew members laughed about smashing his only possessions, some picked things up and made jokes about it.

“What do we do now,” he said. “Where do we go.”

Rangers did a pat down and put the BZIT member in the back of the vehicle and was later released after refusing to speak without an attorney.

BZIT said Rangers arrested the resident they violently detained but that has yet to be confirmed. 

Rangers also gave citations to surrounding residents, according to BZIT

Supervisor Phil Serna called the Idaho Supreme Court ruling prohibiting sweeps “BS” at a recent meeting.

The 2018 Martin v Boise ruling held that cities enforcing anti-camping ordinances that do not have enough homeless shelter beds available for their homeless population are violating Constitutional protections and cannot be punished legally.

“I don’t care anymore if I get criticized for ‘criminalizing’ homelessness,” Serna said. “I think it’s about time we test it.”

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 27

Published by

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

More from Robert J Hansen

Comments / 0