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.
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