SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — An unpermitted event which was supposed to commemorate Stephon Clark’s birthday forced Sacramento County officials to shut down Discovery Park on Monday.
In March of 2018, Stephon Clark was shot and killed by police in his grandparents’ South Sacramento backyard. Officers thought he had a gun but turns out he only had a cell phone.
Monday’s event was very different from what his family originally wanted.
“Today, all we wanted to do was commemorate the life and legacy of Stephon in a positive light,” Stevante Clark, Stephon Clark’s Brother told FOX40.
But Stevante Clark said that wasn’t allowed to happen this year because he claims the county is using the COVID-19 pandemic to shut down his event by closing all of Discovery Park.
“And not only did they do that, they went the extra step of being petty and cut off the sewer line,” said Stevante Clark.
However, a spokesperson for the Sacramento County Regional Parks system said the sewer line shutoff was part of a pre-planned construction project and unrelated to any and all events planned for Discovery Park.
Stevante Clark explained his original event would have allowed kids from the Meadowview neighborhood, where the shooting happened, to be able to get onto speed boats to go wakeboarding.
“And now that they canceled it, how does that make you feel?” Stevante Clark asked a child near him.
“Mad,” the child responded.
“Mad right? You ain’t never been on no boat like that, you ain’t never been waterboarding,” Stevante Clark said.
Sacramento County Regional Parks officials explained its actions with the following statement:
Due to a publicly advertised and unpermitted event that has the potential to attract hundreds of individuals to Discovery Park, we have decided to close Discovery Park and Tiscornia Beach on Monday, August 10. This action is being taken in an effort to protect public health and safety, as Sacramento County remains under a Public Health Order and all gatherings, regardless of size, are prohibited. The Department of Regional Parks stopped issuing event permits on March 19.Sacramento County Regional Parks
“We didn’t need permits for what we were doing. I need a permit to put my children on our yachts? Come on,” Stevante Clark said.
Stevante Clark said he understands the COVID-19 concerns the county has and said his group was prepared.
“We provided life vests, we provided face masks, we provided the social distancing signs and lines and we had food being brought to people’s cars as they waited to board these shuttles,” Stevante Clark said.
But he said it’s hypocritical of the county to target his event when so many others use Discovery Park every day without following any state COVID guidelines.
“Droves of people are out there without any permit, any face mask, any social distancing, open containers,” Stevante Clark said. “The place looks like Miami Beach, literally.”
The compromise from the Clark family is to move the event in Cesar Chavez Park and march to the Stephon Clark mural in Jazz Alley.
The Clark family said that face masks and social distancing will be required.