SACRAMENTO — Former Kings forward and Sacramento native, Matt Barnes lead a rally on Saturday at Cesar Chavez Plaza calling for unity and action in response to the police killing of Stephon Clark.
Before introducing Barnes, Reverend Shane Harris kicked off the rally passion.
“We must fight to keep his name alive,” Harris said.
Harris took his time to remind the community that it is now everyone’s responsibility to care for and protect Clark’s young boys.
The former Del Campo High School student, Barnes, took the stage to talk about why he continues to support the city of Sacramento and demand necessary changes.
Barnes said the fight for justice for Clark, who was shot in his grandmother’s backyard, is about “more than color.” It “comes down to right and wrong,” and the two police officers who shot and killed Clark must be held accountable, he said.
Barnes also says police need to know the people in the neighborhoods they patrol.
He suggested officers get out of their patrol cars and walk the streets in order to build individual relationships with community members.
“As the father of two boys, I can’t stay silent on this issue. We clearly need to unite, organize, and act to bring the accountability that is so desperately needed. This rally is the beginning to seeing that change,” said Barnes.
Sacramento NAACP Branch President Betty Williams urged the community to join them in demanding law changes especially when it comes body camera and foot pursuit policies.
Basim Elkarra, with CAIR Sacramento, joined the stage with Clark’s two sons, their mom Salena and her father Raj Manni to reiterate the importance of the city of Sacramento taking a stand to make a change.
Elkarra hopes the community can work with Police Chief Daniel Hahn to make improvements.
“We pray that with your leadership and our support you’re going to make changes … this is not us versus them,” Elkarra said.
The family of Joseph Mann was also in attendance.
Mann was killed by Sacramento Police on July 11, 2016. Officers fired 18 shots, striking him 14 times.
A Clark family member in attendance also touched on Clark's older brother Stevante, who they presume is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder losing two brothers to gun violence.
"Stevante has lost his older brother. He has lost his baby brother. And he is losing some of his mind. And while everyone has something to say, while everyone want to talk negative -- This is why this baby [Stevante] says we need a resource center. Where are the mental health professionals in our communities?"
"Let the nation know Sacramento is here for justice," Harris said. "If we are not here for these families, we are doing a disservice to them and to ourselves."
Barnes thanked everyone for keeping the rally peaceful and continuing the fight for justice.
"I'm sitting down with the mayor, I'm sitting down with the gang leaders and I'm going to be a driving force for change in this community," Barnes said.