An unarmed 22-year-old black man named Stephon Clark was shot and killed in his own backyard by two police officers in Sacramento, Calif. on Sunday night.
Sacramento Bee reported that Clark, a father of two children, was in the backyard of a home he shared with his grandmother, grandfather and siblings.
At 9:18 p.m., the police department said officers responded to a call that a "thin, 6-foot-1 black man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants" was hiding in a residential backyard after breaking car windows. Deputies in a helicopter said they saw a man in a backyard at 9:25 p.m., and told police who were on the ground that the man had just shattered a window with a tool bar and then run to the front of a house and looked inside of a car.
Officers entered the front yard of Clark's residence and saw him on the side of the house. Department spokesman Vance Chandler said Clark was the man who deputies saw in the helicopter, and that they told him to stop and show his hands. Officers said that Clark instead ran to the backyard, before advancing toward the officers with something in his hands.
Clark was only holding his cell phone, but police said they believed he was armed with a gun. Both officers each fired multiple rounds at Clark, "fearing for their safety," according to the department. Clark was announced dead on the scene.
Sacramento Bee also reported that police interviewed Clark's grandmother, Sequita Thompson, for several hours about the gunshots she heard, without telling her about Clark. She opened the curtain, and saw her grandson's body in her backyard and started screaming.
The officers were wearing body cameras, and the department said it plans to release footage from the cameras, along with audio and video footage from the helicopter. Both officers in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.
#StephonClark has been trending on Twitter today (Wednesday, March 20), with people reacting to the shooting and labeling it as another case of police brutality.
20 times.— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 21, 2018
After first saying #StephonClark had a gun, then changing it to a crowbar, then admitting he just had a cell phone, we now learn that the Sacramento Police shot this man 20 times in his own backyard.
But Dylann Roof was apprehended peacefully & given a Value Meal. pic.twitter.com/kvIZHQjoNL
#MarkAnthonyConditt— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) March 21, 2018
While police were in position around the hotel, "the suspect started driving away. Law enforcement followed." (CBS News)#StephonClark
Police said officers believed Clark's cell phone was a gun and fired at him, "fearing for their safety." (Sacramento Bee)
#StephonClark. 22. Killed by police while holding a cell phone. Human. Flesh & blood. Born with a purpose. Some will try to reason; there is no humane reason. This continues to happen because, for 100s of years, the soul & sentiment of America have denied that #BlackLivesMatter. https://t.co/D6iUOgQRsB— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 21, 2018
#StephonClark bled for hours in his own backyard as police interviewed his grandmother. She didn't knw he died until she looked out of her window & saw him lifeless. He didn't deserve to die like this, and she didn't deserve to find out like that. Everything abt this is horrific. pic.twitter.com/uHYQDXhJyG— Lilly Workneh (@Lilly_Works) March 21, 2018