SACRAMENTO — Members from the community gathered in front of the Sacramento City Council Tuesday, pressing for answers in what many say is a shifting narrative by officers about the latest killing of a young black man.
“To hell with Sac P.D. I’m sick of them always murdering black youth,” said resident Rebecca Person.
People were passionate at the podium and within their allotted time to speak in front of officials. A woman was thrown out after calling for arrests of the responsible officers from the chamber audience.
“What is the police’s job to do? To shoot people that are unarmed in their own backyard?” said Robert Copeland, who approached the podium.
Stephon Clark, 22, was killed by Sacramento police Sunday night in the backyard of his grandparents’ home, where the stay-at-home dad was living. Officers said they thought he had a firearm. It turned out he only had a cellphone.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn came to city council to update members and the public with the facts as they stood less than 48 hours after the killing.
Hahn told FOX40 that officers fired on Clark 20 times.
Investigators say they were looking for the burglar who broke into three cars along 29th Street when Clark was spotted by a sheriff’s helicopter crew jumping a fence and breaking a sliding glass door at a home next door to where he was killed. Hahn says Clark’s clothing matched the description that came from the caller who initially reported seeing a man running from a car that had been broken into.
The police department has been attacked for not telling Clark’s family their grandson was the one killed.
Relatives actually called for police to help them after hearing the gunshots right outside their window. According to Chief Hahn, his department initially had no idea loved ones were on either side of the incident.
“We found out they were related because the family told us so,” Hahn told FOX40.
Hahn says officers on scene waited for five minutes until back-up arrived and Clark was handcuffed before rendering life-saving aid.
All of what’s been presented so far has not been calming the anger of many.
“They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a tool bar, whatever that is,” said Tanya Faison of the Sacramento Chapter of Black Lives Matter. “Then they put out that he had a wrench and then they put out that he just had a cellphone. They need to get it together.”
Chief Hahn plans to release two body camera videos and one helicopter video to the public after that footage is shared with Clark’s family. He hopes to have both releases done by the end of the week.
When it comes to rumors circulating in the community that Clark was shot in the back, Hahn could not answer Councilman Larry Carr’s questions, about that saying the coroner’s report was not complete.
The officers in connection with the killing are now on paid administrative leave. They have been with the police department for two and four years respectively. Both served four years with other departments before joining the force in Sacramento.