Sacramento resident Stephon Clark, unarmed, was fatally shot by police in his backyard.
It is sad to report that an unarmed black man by the name of Stephon Clark (22 years old) was fatally shot by Sacramento police. While officers reportedly believed the young man to be carrying a "tool bar," in reality, he was merely holding his cell phone. A report from The Sacramento Bee explains that Clark was in the backyard of his home, where he resided with his grandmother, grandfather and siblings. As it happened, police were on the look out for a reported burglar, who was smashing car windows nearby.
While police claimed they believed Clark to be armed with a firearm; they described the victim as holding an "object extended in front of him." It was later confirmed that the only object found at the scene was his cell phone. Police disputed that they believed remnants of the "tool bar" could be found in his neighbors backyard, and maintained that he was responsible for breaking the windows of three nearby vehicles, as well as his neighbor's glass door.
The incident went down on Sunday, after officers answered a call claiming a 6 foot 1, hooded black man was hiding out in a backyard after breaking windows. A helicopter bound officer spotted the man they believed to be Clark, and proceeded to guide on-foot deputies. Department spokesman Vance Chandler later confirmed that the man spotted by helicopter was indeed Stephon Clark.
The statement continues, explaining that Clark apparently ran toward officers with the aforementioned "object" in hand. As the officers "feared for their safety," they proceeded to open fire. Clark was hit several times, and soon pronounced dead by backup.
Clark's grandmother was at home, and heard the shots from her dining room. "The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground." She maintained that neither her nor her husband hear any police commands being issued. Only the gunfire. Eventually she spoke to police about the gunshots, and they failed to mention what happened to Clark. She only found out when she looked out the window and discovered his body. "“I opened that curtain and he was dead," she said. "I started screaming.”
For now, Stephon is mourned by his family and the community. The police officers who fired the shots are currently on paid administrative leave.