Sacramento on edge after cops fatally shoot unarmed black man
24 March, 2018, 16:35 | Author: Larry Hoffman
Protests continued in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday following Sunday's fatal police shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark. Several people, including one member of the clergy, would get the growing crowd moving again as the protesters eventually went to an area where there were several courthouses. The peaceful rally delayed the start of the night's game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks.
Protesters dispersed from the scene before 9 p.m.
A candlelight vigil was held to commemorate the death of Clark, who died in a hail of police gunshots Sunday night in the darkened backyard of the home where he had been staying with his grandparents.
Stephon Clark, 22, was living with relatives in a south Sacramento house when the police responded to a 911 call about a man breaking auto windows and a glass door in the neighborhood. This time, an officer yells at Clark to show his hands, then begins shouting, "Gun, gun, gun!"
"The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them", the Sacramento police said in a statement.
Protesters marched from Sacramento City Hall onto a nearby motorway on Thursday, disrupting rush hour traffic and holding signs with messages including "Sac PD: Stop killing us!".
Obayashi said the officers' "threat radar is way high" after moving through backyards in pursuit of a suspect reported to have committed several risky felonies, including breaking into a home.
When backup arrives, one of the officers who fired says, "We can't see his left hand". In a body camera, audio recording the officers are only heard identifying themselves after firing on Clark, according to a report by the Washington Post.
The shooting followed reports of several vehicle break-ins in the area and helicopter footage showed thermal images of the victim running through backyards and hopping fences in the moments before he was killed.
Prior to the start of the National Basketball Association game, demonstrators brought awareness to Clark's death and police violence toward black people by demonstrating on the Sacramento highway, Interstate 5 and Sacramento's City Hall.
Clark was suspected of breaking into cars in a South Sacramento neighborhood.
Steinberg said the department has improved its policies since the fatal shooting of a mentally ill black man, Joseph Mann, in 2016.
About seven uneventful minutes into the footage, the officers broke into a jog, running past unlit houses or dimly lit windows, and headed to another house. Officers on the ground cornered him and, believing he had a gun in his hand, fired 20 rounds.
Sacramento police and the president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association could not be reached on Friday.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee, said he understood the public's reaction but called for calm.
"Let's see your hands", said the other.
The two officers involved in the shooting have not been named; both have been placed on paid administrative leave.
The group marched through downtown streets, chanting and speaking out against "wrongful deaths of black Americans by police".
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