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Stephon Clark shooting: Protests over unarmed black man's death are growing

'Cells up, don't shoot!' protesters chant
Stephon Clark shooting: Protests over unarmed black man's death are growing
Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 23, 2018

Demonstrators in Sacramento marched Friday to California's Capitol during a second day of protests over the police-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man.

The crowd walked about a mile from the city's Tower Bridge to the steps of the seat of state government.

They chanted "Black lives matter" and called out Clark's name. One of the march leaders told people to hold up their cellphones; police have said Clark had an object in his hand, but no weapon was found.

"It's just a cellphone," the man yelled out. "I don't know how the hell it looks like a gun to anybody else."

The shooting incident began Sunday after 9 p.m., when Sacramento officers responded to a report that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. They pursued a man identified as Clark, who hopped a fence into his grandmother's property.


Officials said two officers fired when they thought they saw a weapon.

The crowd Friday stood on the steps outside the Capitol, decrying a police force the protesters called racist. They said there was no reason for police to open fire.

"Cells up, don't shoot," they screamed.

After spending about a half hour at the Capitol, demonstrators took to the streets, occasionally disrupting traffic downtown and at times confronting police officers. 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.

'A phone is not a gun'

Protesters the day before had marched into City Hall and onto an interstate highway as the mayor called for calm. They also went to an NBA arena and kept many fans from attending the Kings game against the Atlanta Hawks.

At City Hall, demonstrators called for the arrest of the two officers and demanded to see police Chief Daniel Hahn as they marched into the building.

The protest, which was organized by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, briefly spilled onto Interstate 5 after the group left City Hall.

"A phone is not a gun," protesters chanted.

Police: Clark had an object

The shooting was captured by the two officers' body cameras and a police helicopter; that footage was released on Wednesday in an effort to be transparent.

On Sunday, officers fired 20 times at Clark, hitting him multiple times, police told CNN Sacramento affiliate KOVR. The two officers have since been placed on paid administrative leave amid a use of force investigation.

The body camera videos show the brief encounter between police and Clark, lasting less than a minute, from the moment one of the officers yelled: "Hey, show me your hands. Stop. Stop."

Police said the officers entered the front yard and saw the suspect along the side of the home. Police said the man "turned and advanced toward the officers while holding an object" extended in front of him.

"Show me your hands!" one of the officers yelled. "Gun, gun, gun."

Seconds later, officers opened fire as they took cover near a wall.

As more police arrived at the scene, someone is heard asking, "What did he have on him?"

An officer responded "... something in his hands. It looked like a gun from our perspective."

Clark's family members have disputed the police account.

Clark's grandmother said she was inside the house when the shots were fired, and saw her grandson with an iPhone.