Community calls for ’Justice for Sage’
A crowd of about 50 people gathered Friday afternoon outside the office of the Nevada County district attorney to push for more accountability in the death of Ariella “Sage” Crawford.
Crawford, 33, was shot and killed Feb. 4 in front of her two children after two Nevada County sheriff’s deputies responded to several 911 calls in Alta Sierra.
“We’re all very concerned citizens, and it’s part of our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable,” said Libby Woods, who helped organize the event.
Woods pointed to homelessness and a national mental health crisis as part of the underlying systemic issues that led to Crawford’s death and said prioritizing crisis management is an important first step.
“We want to know what our elected officials are going to do to restore our trust,” she said, adding, “I don’t feel comfortable with business as usual.”
Sheriff Shannan Moon has asked the District Attorney’s Office to handle the investigation into the shooting. The two deputies who responded both are on paid administrative leave, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Moon released dash-cam footage from the two patrol vehicles Wednesday, as part of a longer video that also included the 911 calls and radio traffic before and during the incident.
The video shows Crawford pulling a knife as a deputy approached her and appearing highly agitated during the interaction. One of the deputies fired a Taser at her but did not make contact, and the second deputy fired a total of five shots as Crawford ran toward the first deputy. Crawford was treated at the scene after she dropped the knife and was transported to the hospital, where she died.
One woman at the protest had spent time talking to Crawford and called her a “very kind lady” who never showed any signs of mental health issues.
“I just felt very safe with her,” said Cindy Cary, who said she first met Crawford on the bus last year. “It took me by surprise, for her to go off the deep end, it was not like her … She didn’t have a mean spirit, she didn’t deserve to be shot.”
The Peace and Justice Center of Nevada County has organized a Zoom Town Hall meeting for next Friday starting at 6:30 p.m., with more information available by emailing email@example.com. The town hall is meant to brainstorm ideas on improving police response to mental health crisis situations, said Lorraine Reich.
“We want to give people an opportunity to vent,” Reich said. “The ultimate wish is to grow a community of concerned citizens and maybe develop a citizens’ oversight committee.”
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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