In Sacramento, Protesters Shut Down Freeway And Block Entrance To Kings Game

Delia Walker
March 24, 2018

A protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man briefly shut down a major California freeway and disrupted the start of an National Basketball Association game Thursday.

There was shouting but no apparent violence as frustrated fans waited outside. The game started about 15 minutes late while the arena was mostly empty.

The protesters earlier marched from Sacramento City Hall and onto a nearby freeway, disrupting rush hour traffic and holding signs with messages like "Sac PD: Stop killing us!"

Activists and protesters have criticized the Sacramento Police Department for putting out what they say was inaccurate news in the days after the shooting of Stephon Clark.

California mayor 'horrified' by video of fatal shooting; police fired 20 rounds at unarmed man

Police said the officers who fired at Clark believed he had a gun.

The attorney said he will use "any and all legal remedies" to get justice for the Clark family.

"Any loss of life is tragic and affects all members of our community, including our Sacramento police officers", Timothy Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, said in a statement on Thursday. Police claimed they thought the cellphone in his hand was a gun.

Then police opened fire, CNN reports.

Sacramento police spokeswoman Matthew said Clark could have assumed police were in the area because a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helicopter was circling overhead.

Sacramento police have released footage from body cameras and from a helicopter that recorded the chase and the fatal shooting of a young black man in his backyard over the weekend. At approximately 9:25 p.m., STAR advised they observed a subject in a backyard and began to direct SPD officers to him.

Sacramento police guidelines posted on the department's website do not specify that officers must identify themselves when encountering suspects. The police said deputies in the helicopter saw Clark break a neighbor's sliding glass door before jumping a fence.

The body camera footage is dark and shaky.

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. "We are committed to providing timely information and communicating openly with our community".

A new voice can be heard, this time from a woman, apparently among the reinforcements, who called to Clark, wanting to know if he had a weapon. On the video, the officers can not be heard saying they are police. "I don't want them to be next", protester Tami Collins told Capital Public Radio.

"The Sacramento Police Department recognizes the significance of this incident and the impact it has on our community", the department wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday.

Clark's death comes on the heels of other high-profile instances of law enforcement shooting unarmed black men in recent years, including the deaths Michael Brown in 2014 and Walter Scott three years ago. Per department policy, the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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