Kings, Police, Community Leaders Talk ‘Team Up for Change’ Initiative

SACRAMENTO -- Few things have the power to bring people together like sports.

With that in mind, the Sacramento Kings are not sitting on the sidelines.

The team hosted a "Team Up For Change" event Wednesday morning to address the relationship between police and the community.

"For us to heal we have to start having real conversations about what the real issues are," Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said.

The strained relationship between police officers and the community has always been an issue, Hahn said.

But tensions boiled over nearly a year ago with the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man killed by police officers in his grandparents' backyard in March 2018.

"Moving forward, how do we get better? How do we not have to experience what we as a community and also the Clark family experienced through this?" Hahn said.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive says the franchise has a role to play in the Sacramento community that transcends basketball.

"My dream scenario is that this whole concept will go viral," he said. "So it would be not just basketball teams, but all sports teams would team up for change."

He says that includes dialogue with people like Jamilia Land, a close family friend, who says events like this are productive.

"We now have these recommendations for deadly use of force. We now have the introduction of AB 392, all of which came out of Stephon’s murder. So I think that we’re definitely moving in the right direction," Land said.

Land says she's been a part of meetings with city leaders, who are preparing for protests if Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert decides the officers who killed Clark won't face criminal charges -- a decision that could come any day.

In the weeks after Clark's death, demonstrators poured into the streets of Sacramento. One demonstration included a march on Interstate 5 that closed northbound lanes and blocking the entrance to the Golden 1 Center.

She adds that at times, the Clark family didn't appreciate the tone of the meetings.

"I said, flat-out, 'What I hear in this room right now is B-U-L-L bleep bleep," Land said. "'It sounds like containment. This is not OK.'"

Ultimately, Land says she and other community leaders think Sacramento is healing.

'We are unified in our commitment to making our communities better," she said.

Another team joining the "Team Up For Change" initiative is the Milwaukee Bucks, who the Kings face Wednesday night.

Last May, video of Milwaukee police tasing and arresting Bucks guard Sterling Brown surfaced, which the team roundly criticized the police department for. Three members of the department were suspended for the incident.

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