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In the wake of Sacramento police officers shooting Stephon Clark to death in the backyard of his family home, many questions have remained unanswered. One of the people tasked with investigating the matter is Daniel Hahn, Sacramento’s Chief of Police. Here are 6 things you need to know about the man who plays an integral role in bringing the facts to light.
First Black Police Chief (Twice)
Hahn became Sacramento’s 45th Chief of Police in 2017 and he is the first Black man to hold the job. But he was also Chief Of Police in nearby Roseville and was the first African-American to hold the top spot on the police force there as well.
Oak Park is the neighborhood where Hahn was raised. Historically, Oak Park has been known as a poor, crime-ridden area plagued by gang violence. When Hahn was born in the late 1960’s, Oak Park still housed the Sacramento headquarters of the Black Panther Party. But like many neighborhoods around the country that have been “discovered” by those with economic means, in recent years gentrification has established a firm grip in Oak Park–squeezing out local residents in favor of fancy coffee shops and rising rents.
Arrested by Sacramento PD as a Teen
When Hahn was 16 years old, he got into an argument with his mother about his poor grades. During that disagreement, Hahn punched a wall and in response, his mother called the police. He was subsequently taken into custody by the very police department he would head three decades later. At the time, he was placed in handcuffs and charged with resisting arrest. Hahn was released after spending four hours at a juvenile hall. Hahn is apparently not ashamed to speak about the incident and talks about it sometimes with his youth community outreach.
Been Called the N-Word
Though a generally well-liked law enforcement official, not everyone was pleased when Hahn was named Chief of Police in Roseville. In 2011, after years of working as a cop for the Sacramento PD, Hahn got the Chief hat in Roseville and caught the ire of online racists. They took to Twitter to fire racist insults at him, including the n-word. (By the way, Hahn is a fairly active Twitter user. He posts multiple times a day almost every weekday.)
Inherited a Tense Police/Community Relationship
When Hahn became the top cop in Sacramento, it was after a string of high profile incidents involving police officers shootings. Joseph Mann–a 51-year-old, mentally ill homeless man–was waving a 4-inch knife when he was shot to death by two Sacaramento police officers on July 11, 2016 after they attempted to run him over with their cruiser. There was a public outcry. Two months later, Hahn’s predecessor, then-Chief Sam Somers, Jr., announced his retirement.
Stephon Clark’s Brother Stevante is Not a Fan
Stevante Clark, the older brother of Stephon Clark, has made numerous animated, emotional appearances in the days following his brother’s tragic death. One such incident was at a Sacramento City Council meeting where he hopped on the dias and commandeered a microphone. He spoke of Hahn: “The chief of police got my brother killed. He doesn’t care. He shows no emotion at all.”