In letter, Sacramento County Sheriff questions Black Lives Matter chapter founder as leader in black community

In a July letter sent to Black Lives Matter’s Sacramento chapter founder Tanya Faison, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones questioned her position as a leader in the black community.

“In my opinion, there are far more responsible, effective voices for the African American community here in Sacramento than you, Ms. Faison,” he wrote.

Jones, who is white, mailed this in a response to a letter BLM Sacramento sent his department demanding camera footage, autopsy reports, police reports and the names of the officers involved in the deaths last May of residents Ryan Ellis and Mikel McIntyre, and injuries suffered by Patricia Hill during and after her arrest last April.

“I wanted to extend you the courtesy to let you know that none of your demanded items will be forthcoming,” the sheriff wrote.

Faison says that the original letter from BLM Sacramento was written by a colleague of hers.

But, she says, Jones “decided to write me, personally, and attack me, and (…) determine who is a black leader in black communities.”

“He basically said I’m not giving you anything because I don’t like you.”

The sheriff’s department did not respond to questions at the time of publishing this story.

BLM Sacramento says there was a five-hour gap between the arrest and hospital arrival in the death of Ryan Ellis–who sheriff’s deputies claim kicked out the back window of a patrol car and jumped out while the vehicle was moving. BLM also questions the details surrounding the death of Mikel McIntyre, who was suffering a mental health crisis on the day he died.

Faison says she is currently working on nine 2017 incidents involving black residents and officers with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department or the Sacramento Police Department.

She says she will speak more about Sheriff Jones’s letter at an August 10 press conference.

Read Sheriff Jones’ letter to Faison here, and BLM Sacramento’s original letter of demands here.

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Dave Kempa
Dave Kempa is the founder and editor of VOICES: River City.