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“I Won’t Keep Calm I Have a Black Son”

Holly Singleteary, a dancer, mother, sister, and worker who lives in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, also helms the nonprofit BlyueRose Dance Project there with her twin sister Heather. Holly joined a rally at Sacramento’s City Hall recently to protest the Sacramento police shooting and killing of unarmed Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old African American, in his grandmother’s backyard. The authorities have been calling for protesters to remain calm. Before that fatal incident, Holly had a terrifying police encounter. (Full disclosure: she is my grandson’s dance teacher.) Holly and I conducted the interview below by email.

Seth Sandronsky: What brought you out to Sacramento’s City Hall last night to protest Stephon Clark’s death by police gunshots?

Holly Singleteary: I went out to be a voice. The police pulled me over recently. Without explanation, they forced me out of my car. I had six guns drawn on me. My children were with me and witnessed everything. A male cop searched me. I was handcuffed and put into a police car without them asking for my name, driver’s license, registration or insurance. This hit very close to home because as I was ordered out with my hands up, my children screamed they loved me and please don’t die. I was helpless and given no explanation. Not only that, I have a son who wears hoodies and walks to tutoring in Oak Park. My heart races every time until I know he is safe because I am afraid of what could happen on a short walk through a predominately-black neighborhood.

SS: When and where did this police stop take place?

HS: It happened on February 20, 2018 around 8:45 p.m. in West Sacramento as we left gymnastics.

SS: Did the police arrest or cite you?

HS: No arrest or cite. They never asked for my registration or insurance. I did not provide my driver’s license, but they asked me where it was and I told them in my purse. I assume they went and got it.

SS: Do you know the badge numbers and officers’ names who stopped and pointed their weapons at you?

HS: I have no badge numbers or names. I was in shock. I was shaking, near passing out and lost control, and urinated all over myself.

SS: What are your plans for holding the police officers who mistreated you accountable?

HS: I called the West Sacramento Police Department to file a complaint. Sergeant Lukins informed me that it didn’t sound valid but would document it. I plan to follow-up in the next few weeks.

SS: What has surprised you most about the protests after Stephon Clark’s death?

HS: I am surprised at the lack of compassion people have—the anger that those not protesting had towards us as protesters. The way they shouted out that this is stupid; he was a criminal. Hopefully, he is resting in peace. I’m saddened that no one understands that a man is dead. A father, a son, a grandson, a friend and a human is dead from 20 shots to his back.

SS: Thank you for your time, Holly.

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Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com

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