2018-03-22 19:03:04 UTC
Officers say they mistook Stephon Clark’s cellphone for a gun. Activists want more answers.
Police killings of unarmed black men helped fuel the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Now a new tragedy — the shooting death of an unarmed black man in his own backyard — is raising new questions about how much things have changed, if at all.
On Sunday, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot in the backyard of the home he was staying in with his grandparents. Police officers were purportedly responding to reports of a man breaking car windows.
According to a press release issued by the Sacramento Police Department, a helicopter tracking a suspect directed the officers to Clark, who ran towards the house after being confronted by officers. The police department said Clark turned and began to “advance forward with his arms extended, and holding an object in his hands.”
The officers, who are said to have thought the object was a gun, then fired 20 rounds at Clark. It’s unclear how many of the shots hit Clark, but other facts aren’t in dispute, and they’re disturbing: After the shooting, officers waited several minutes for backup before moving to handcuff Clark and beginning medical treatment. And the only item he turned out to have been carrying was a cellphone...