Protests erupted in California’s Sacramento city on Friday night after an autopsy of a black man shot dead by police officers in the backyard of his grandparents’ home on March 18, showed that he had been hit eight times in his back, Reuters reported.
Police officers had fired at Stephon Clark after receiving a report that someone was breaking windows. The officers shot at Clark believing that he was holding a firearm, but it was later found that he holding a mobile phone.
The Sacramento Police had claimed that Clark advanced towards them in a menacing way before the shooting began. The incident was captured on a body camera video the police released on March 28. The results of the autopsy, initiated by Clark’s family, appear to contradict the police claim.
On Friday night, about 200 demonstrators waving signs and chanting the 22-year-old’s name gathered at the city hall before marching into the Old Sacramento area. “Shoot us down, we shut you down”, the protestors shouted, some wearing masks and carrying megaphones.
Over 80 police and California Highway Patrol officers in riot gear blocked the protestors from marching onto a highway.
Family lawyer criticises police action
“This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Clark family said.
The Sacramento Police Department said it would not comment on the case until the results of the official autopsy by the county coroner’s office come in. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on March 27 that state investigators will monitor the case and review the practices and procedures the police follow.