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LIVE BLOG: Family, Friends and Community Members Attend Funeral Service for Stephon Clark

SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- At 11 a.m. Thursday, a standing-room only crowd including community members, family and friends of Stephon Clark packed into Bayside of South Sacramento to say their final farewells.

Clark died on March 18 after Sacramento Police officers shot him in his grandparents' backyard.

His death has gained national attention as community leaders and loved ones continue to demand the officers involved be held accountable for the 22-year-old's death.

Clark's wooden, closed casket was positioned front and center at the church and was topped with a red and green floral display.

A red ribbon using Clark's nickname says, "We Love You Big Poppa." A white heart floral display has a red ribbon saying "Rest in Power" while another says "#Stephon Clark."

The musical and scriptural celebration of Stephon Clark was interrupted by his emotional brother Stevante, who hugged and kissed the casket, led the crowd in chants of his brother's name and interrupted speakers. The Rev. Al Sharpton hugged and consoled him and told the crowd not to judge how families grieve.

Sharpton addressed mourners after Clark's brother, Stevante, made an emotional statement calling for community resources and declaring Stephon's name won't be forgotten.

During the service, Sharpton told mourners that Clark "woke up the nation."

"We will never let you forget the name of Stephon Clark until we get justice," Sharpton thundered. "This is about justice. This is about standing with people with courage."

The civil rights leader and MSNBC Host used Clark’s death to highlight a problem facing cities all across the nation. Sharpton says this incident shows yet another abuse of police power against a young man of color.

“We will pursue this across all lines in our community, to raise to the forefront the question of police misconduct,” said Sharpton.

Family members say the memorial was elevated by Sharpton’s presence.

“Just to have Reverend Sharpton here, that lets you know another powerful person with the knowledge of police killings was out here. He knows what happened. He knows this was not an accident,” said Andre Young, Clark’s cousin.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s representing the Clark family, and Sharpton are looking ahead, hoping for a conviction for the officers responsible for Stephon’s death.

“They barely gave him little time to comply with whatever they said. I don’t even know if it was a second before they started a hail of 20 bullets,” said Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s representing the Clark family.

"And are we going to challenge the prosecutor in the name of Stephon Clark?” Sharpton asked to the congregation.

City officials braced for more protests as mourners gathered at Bayside of South Sacramento church.

Some mourners at Wednesday's wake predicted increased unrest beyond the unruly but mostly nonviolent protests that have disrupted traffic and two professional basketball games since the March 18 shooting.

Sharpton delivered his eulogy with Stevante Clark clutching him around the neck. The New York preacher said it was time to "stop this madness" of fatal shootings by police officers.

Two Sacramento police officers who were responding to a report of someone breaking car windows fatally shot Clark. Video of the nighttime incident released by police shows a man later identified as Clark running into the backyard where police fired 20 rounds at him after screaming "gun, gun, gun."

It turned out Clark was holding a cell phone.

Some mourners attending Wednesday's wake called for police to face criminal charges or donned black shirts calling for justice.

The family's raw grief was on display when Stevante Clark had to be physically restrained while confronting members of the media gathered outside the wake. The outburst came a day after he disrupted a Sacramento City Council meeting and screamed his brother's name at Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Stevante Clark later apologized for his behavior. At the funeral, he addressed Steinberg, who was one of the few white people in the audience that included former Sacramento Kings player Matt Barnes.

"We're going to forgive the mayor, amen," Clark said. "Everybody say they love the mayor."

Clark and Sharpton also led people in a call and response, shouting, "I am," and the crowd responding, "Stephon Clark."

Shernita Crosby, Stephon Clark's aunt, has said the family isn't "mad at all the law enforcement."

"We're not trying to start a riot," she said. "What we want the world to know is that we got to stop this because black lives matter."

Cousin Suzette Clark said the family wants Stephon Clark remembered as an outgoing, funny, handsome, loving father of two young sons — "more than just a hashtag."

Authorities are working to avoid a repeat of the protests that have twice blocked fans from entering the NBA arena downtown for Sacramento Kings games.

In a statement posted on the Kings' website, the team said it is partnering with Black Lives Matter and is creating an education fund for Clark's children.

The team also said it is partnering with a group of local leaders called "Build. Black. Coalition." to support what it terms "transformational change" for black communities in Sacramento.

On Wednesday, about 50 protesters took over the intersection near the Sacramento district attorney's office as part of a protest organized by the local Black Lives Matter chapter to urge the district attorney to file charges against the officers who shot Clark. In New York City, hundreds of people marched to protest the shooting and at least 11 people were detained as tensions flared.

Meanwhile, Steinberg said disruptions like Stevante Clark's at Tuesday's council meeting won't happen again. "But in that moment, that was a brother grieving for the loss of his brother," he said.

The California attorney general's office on Tuesday joined the investigation, a move Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said he hopes will bring "faith and transparency" to a case that he said has sparked "extremely high emotions, anger and hurt in our city."

In addition to Clark's family, mourners include Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and retired NBA player Matt Barnes.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has worked with the family to set up a fund for Clark's two young sons, Aiden and Cairo.

Order of Service

Opening Prayer - Officiate Pastor Darryl Scarborough Senior Pastor of Boss Church
Old Testament Scripture - Pastor Johnny Shepard, Christ Is Preached Church
New Testament Scripture - Elder David James, Pleasant Hill Praise Center
Recitation Of The Quran Song - "Pray for Me" by Izrael Fard Muhammed
Praise Dance - Cailyn Clark and the Boss Church Praise Dancers
Acknowledgements
Song
Remarks By Stephon's Close Friends
Poem - "I, Too, Have a Dream" by Se'Quette Clark
Reading Of Obituary - Yolanda Stevenson
Comments - Imam Omar Suleiman
Song - "Going Up Yonder" by Alicia Moore
EULOGY – 12:00 p.m. - Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network
Janaza Prayer - Imam Zaid Shakir
Closing Family Song

Anisca Miles March 29, 20189:18 AM

2nd plane today. In my seat headed to Sacramento. Busy day but on my assignment.

A post shared by Rev. Al Sharpton (@real_sharpton) on

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Protests have come to a close for the evening and ended at the DA’s office, where they first began.

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