Posted on July 26, 2023

Sacramento Police Called Kids ‘Ghetto’ Before Handcuffing 14-Year-Old Black Boy

Theresa Clift, Sacramento Bee, July 25, 2023

Two Sacramento police officers referred to a group of kids as “ghetto” and “retarded” before improperly putting a 14-year-old Black boy in handcuffs. Both are still on the force.

Police Chief Kathy Lester, then a deputy chief, sustained allegations of discrimination against Officer Brandon Lundgren and excessive force against Officer Connor Lawrence, according to October 2021 disciplinary letters the department posted to its website Thursday. The department ordered both to complete additional training.

Just before 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, the two officers were dispatched to the area outside the movie theater at the Delta Shores shopping center in Meadowview. A caller had said kids were “loitering, fighting and deterring patrons from going to businesses,” the disciplinary letters stated.

After the kids did not follow police orders to leave, Lundgren told a 14-year-old Black boy “alright, first victim,” then handcuffed him and put him in the backseat of a patrol car, the letter stated.

“There is two hundred of you roaming around, being a pack of animals,” Lundgren can be heard saying on a body camera, according to the disciplinary letter. “It’s like a pack of wolves out there destroying the community … you are not going to get away… I could tase you, I could bola wrap you, I could shoot you with a bean bag round. I could deploy a dog on you. I mean is this really how you are going to grow up and live your life, just f— the police? … Live a great life and show some respect. Because right now, you are the problem with our society. You are the problem with our country.”

The department has no policy prohibiting the handcuffing of minors, unlike Baltimore and San Jose. {snip}


Sonia Lewis, a community organizer, said the city should have disciplined the officers more harshly.

“People in the Black community have stressed for too long that training doesn’t deter this type of behavior,” Lewis said. “It’s a culture, it’s a norm of law enforcement. I would like to see suspensions unpaid. We need to hit them in the pockets. Too often when something really goes awry it hits the taxpayer in the pocket when huge settlements are paid out for wrongdoings by cops.”

Lewis said the council should create a policy to bar officers for handcuffing kids.


Lundgren telling the 14-year-old Black boy was “the problem with this country,” did severe damage, and he could be saying similar things to other Black kids, she said.


Right when the two officers arrived on scene, the body cameras picked up a conversation between Lundgren and Lawrence in the patrol car.

“How many of these kids you think are drinking Lean and shit?” Lawrence said, referring to a drink made with liquid prescription medication and soda, the letter stated. “So ghetto, so ghetto, so ghetto.”


As punishment, Lawrence and Lundgren both had to attend a three-day training involving “resilience, compassion and leadership for law enforcement,” the letter stated. They also had to participate in a two-week assignment in the department’s Outreach and Engagement Division to complete a “community engagement project” involving south Sacramento youth.