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Stephon Clark's Family Wants Sacramento DA To Charge Officers With Murder
Stephon Clark shooting protests are set to return to the streets of Sacramento this week for three consecutive days — and activists will be targeting the district attorney.
Local Black Lives Matter chapter founder Tanya Faison and others civil-rights groups say the two officers who killed Clark in his grandparents’ backyard on March 18 should be criminally prosecuted. And they want Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert to bring charges.
“I want them to be convicted. I want them to go to jail. That’s the least,” Faison said. “They took someone’s life from them and were very careless while doing it.”
Protests are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon outside the DA’s downtown office beginning at 3 p.m.
The DA did not immediately return a call to discuss demands to charge the officers.
After tomorrow’s scheduled protest, city council is set to host an “open public forum” to for the community to talk about Clark’s shooting. Schubert is supposed to attend and speak at the meeting.
The DA’s office was the subject of criticism after the 2016 shooting of Joseph Mann, a black man who was killed by police in north Sacramento. Her office did not prosecute the two officers who shot Mann 18 times.
“We want our use of force policy revamped. We want our bill of rights at the state level done over. No more ‘I feared for my life’ as a an excuse to justify killing people,” Faison said.
At a press conference Monday morning inside City Hall, Clark’s family and representatives with the NAACP also demanded that the DA charge the officers.
"They didn't have to kill him like that. They didn't have to shoot him that many times," said Clark’s grandmother, Saquita Thompson. “I just want justice for my grandson and my daughter and my poor babies are in so much pain.”
Thompson questioned why police didn’t use less-lethal force, such as a Taser, or send in police dogs — or not pursue Clark into the backyard.
On the night of Clark’s death, police responded to reports of an individual breaking windows in a Meadowview neighborhood. A law-enforcement helicopter spotted Clark hopping a fence near Thompson’s residence after they say he broke a neighbor’s sliding glass door.
Police say Clark ran when confronted by officers and told to stop. Two cops followed him into his grandmother’s backyard, where they shot at him 20 times. He died on the scene.
The officers thought Clark had a gun, but they only found a cell phone.
Alice Huffman, president of the regional NAACP chapter, is calling for "gun control for the police" and changes to officers’ legal protections. The NAACP also has asked for an independent investigation into Clark’s shooting by an outside agency.
"We aren't gonna stop until they stop gunning down our community like animals," Huffman said.
Ste’vonte Clark led the crowd in chanting his brother’s name inside City Hall. Stephon’s uncle, Kurtis Gordon, spoke as well and gave thanks to the community for its support.
Ben Crump, one of the family’s attorneys who represented Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black high-school student who was killed by a neighbor in 2012, says an independent autopsy will be performed on Clark.
On Sunday afternoon, players with the Sacramento Kings and the Boston Celtics wore T-shirts before and during their game with “#Stephon Clark” on the back and “Accountability, We Are One” on the front. Last week, protesters blocked thousands of fans from entering a Kings game at the Golden 1 Center.
Rev. Al Sharpton has been invited to deliver a eulogy for Clark at his funeral, which is scheduled for Thursday. Leaders in the black community have called for a national day of mourning.
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