For Tense Second Day, Protesters Crowd Downtown Sacramento Streets

SACRAMENTO -- Demonstrators marched through downtown Sacramento for a tense second day on Friday to protest the death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark at the hands of police.

Friday's protest came just a day after demonstrators briefly shut down Interstate 5 and surrounded the Golden 1 Center.

Clark was shot and killed by police officers in his grandparents' backyard Sunday night.

Officers believed Clark had been breaking into cars in the neighborhood and shot him because they say they thought he had a gun.

He was only holding a cellphone.

After spending close to an hour at Tower Bridge, the protestors continued to the Capitol and then to the streets of downtown Sacramento.

Around 3 p.m. protestors arrived at the I-5 I Street freeway entrance but were kept off the freeway by Highway Patrol.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento said on its Facebook page that it did not organize any demonstration on Friday.

The protest remained mostly peaceful throughout the afternoon, though there were occasional tense moments between protesters and law enforcement.

Police said one protester was arrested for breaking a window on a commuter bus downtown.

The police department also said there had been rumors that someone had turned themselves in for breaking car windows in Clark's neighborhood the night he was shot. Police spokeswoman Linda Tucker said that is untrue.

Kids attend a candlelight vigil for Stephon Clark

Remembering Stephon

A candlelight vigil was held for Clark later Friday at Florin Road and 29th Street.

From there, protesters marched down to 24th Street and briefly blocked the intersection.

"The whole world is watching you, Sacramento," the crowd chanted.

The march remained peaceful through much of the night. Some along the route came out of their homes, wearing pajamas, to walk with demonstrators.

Tensions rose once again later in the evening, but the protest ended and Florin reopened shortly before midnight.

Clark's death and the subsequent protests have gained national attention.

City Officials, Activists Discuss Clark Protests

The day after protesters shut down Interstate 5 during the afternoon commute, activists and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn spoke to FOX40 about the demonstration.

Hahn was relieved Thursday's protests stayed peaceful.

"It was a small price to pay for what it could've been, had there been tenser moments," Hahn said.

The chief did express concern for his officers who he says have received death threats since Clark's shooting.

He also addressed another controversial part of the body camera video released Wednesday -- officers muting their body camera audio minutes after the shooting -- which is now part of the investigation.

"It doesn't help with the issue of trust in our community," Hahn said. "So there's potential that our policy needs to be you can't mute your camera."

As Sacramento's first black police chief, Hahn says race doesn't shape his views on the shooting or the need to make changes within his department.

"All that matters is that our department gets better. It doesn't make a difference whether I'm black white or purple," he said.

Community activists hope to instigate change and expect the demonstrations to continue.

"There has to be real, true policy change in the policing," activist Berry Accius said. "The inconvenience that folks had last night was the inconvenience that a lot of people of color, black and brown, have every day."

Pastor Les Simmons has been with Clark's family since the shooting.

"We've got to bring support to the family. We have to bring healing to the family," he said.

Simmons was also on the front lines of Thursday's protest, where he says he was shoved and pepper sprayed. He added the Clark family has been paying attention to the demonstrations.

"It gives them a sense that his death will mean something," Simmons said. "All the support needs to happen, should happen. But at the end of the day, the grandma is going to have to go to that backyard and see where her grandson was murdered."

Mayor Darrell Steinberg took questions on Friday about the demonstrations and the need for institutional change within the police department.

"I'm genuinely sorry for their inconvenience but it was also important that people have an outlet for all the anger," he said. "Our job is to not wait for the investigation before we start asking questions about policy and protocol."