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A 22-Year-Old Black Man Who Was Fatally Shot By Sacramento Police Was Reportedly Unarmed & Carrying A Cell Phone

A 22-year-old unarmed black man was fatally shot by two Sacramento police officers on Sunday night in his own backyard, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Stephon Clark was believed to be holding a tool bar when police responded to the report of someone breaking car windows nearby, according to the New York Daily News, and was pronounced dead at the scene with only a cell phone nearby. Clark leaves behind two young sons, according to his family. 

Officers responded at 9:18 p.m. to a call that described a thin, 6-foot-1 man black man dressed a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants who was hiding in a nearby backyard after breaking several car windows. At 9:25 p.m., deputies from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department circling the area in a helicopter spotted a man in a backyard. Instructing the officers on the ground to where they had spotted the man, they informed the officers that he had just shattered a window with a tool bar.

When officers entered the front yard of Clark’s residence, police say they ordered the man who they found on the side of the house, later identified as Clark, to stop and show his hands. The NY Daily News reports that Clark held up an “object” that was “extended in front of him” when approaching the two officers, which after an investigation was concluded to be the cell phone found near Clark, not a tool bar. “Fearing for their safety,” the two officers shot and hit Clark multiple times at 9:26 p.m. 

“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them,” the department said in a release. “Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times.” 

Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, was home at the time and heard the shots. Clark had lived in the residence with his grandmother, grandfather and a few siblings says Stevante Clark, Stephon’s brother, according to the Bee. Neither the grandmother nor grandfather heard commands from the police before the shots were fired. 

“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground,” she told the Bee. To make matters worse, the NY Daily News reports that she was interviewed for several hours before police informed her that her grandson had been shot. ABC10 reports that although she had heard the shots, she didn’t realize they were directed at her grandson. A few hours later, a detective had reportedly come to the door asking for photos of her grandson when she made the devastating discovery.

“He was real quiet, and said, ma’am you can’t go back there, you can’t go back there,” Thompson explains. “I said ‘ok.’ I waited till he walked out that door, I opened up that curtain, and (saw) my grandson on the ground dead.”

The two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, and the department plans on releasing footage from the officers’ body cameras along with video and audio from the helicopter. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to pay for Clark’s funeral costs, who was often referred to by his friends as “Zoe.”

Clark’s family say that the police wrongfully killed him and they’re currently seeking justice for his death.

“I want justice for my grandson. That’s all I want is justice – and for all the black kids. As a matter of fact, everybody’s kid that got gunned down by policemen,” she tells ABC10.

Amanda graduated from Carthage College with a Bachelor's degree in both Communications and Public Relations. She also proudly served as the Editor in Chief of her college's Her Campus chapter, and as a Her Campus Editorial Intern. She is from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. Today she can still be found furiously tapping away at her laptop keys and producing content for the internet. In her spare time she enjoys reading books (before watching their Netflix or movie adaptions), running for fun (yes, it can be fun) and spending time with her friends and family.
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