After days of protest in Sacramento over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man and one day after authorities said the officers who fatally shot Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge in 2016 would not be charged, the White House’s message was clear: These are not federal issues.
When asked for the White House’s response to these incidents at a news conference Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they are “not something for the federal government to weigh in to.”
Sanders said the fatal shooting in Sacramento was “certainly a terrible incident,” but it’s “something that is a local matter and that’s something that we feel should be left up to local authorities at this point in time.”
Reporters pressed Sanders with follow-up questions about Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after New York City police pinned him down and held him in an apparent chokehold, and tensions between communities of color and law enforcement across the country, but she again said these weren’t federal issues.
“(Trump) wants a better America for every American, and that’s been a repeated thing out of this White House,” Sanders said. “But when it comes to the authority to, on the rulings that have taken place the last few days, those are things that have to be done at a local level, and they’re not federal decisions at this time.”
On March 18, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot at at least 20 times by Sacramento police officers in his grandmother’s backyard. Officers say they thought Clark was armed, but he was only holding a cellphone. He died at the scene.