Another Young Black Man Killed by Sacramento Police

About 140 people gather for a protest-prayer event within blocks of where 22-year-old Stephon Clark was killed in a hail of Sacramento Police bullets.

Man Gunned Down in Grandparents’ Back Yard – SPD Admits Victim Didn’t Have a Gun as Officers Believed

by Cres Vellucci

SACRAMENTO  –  Another day, another young Black man shot dead in Sacramento – but this time the victim of a police shooting here was in his grandparents’ own back yard and police admit now they were mistaken when they initially claimed he had a gun.

This was the message of a soft-spoken but vocal crowd of about 140 members of the community who gathered Monday night just a couple of blocks from the still cordoned off south area street where Sacramento Police Dept. officers gunned down 22-year-old Stephon Clark around 9 p.m. Sunday evening.

The Black Lives Matter Sacramento-sponsored prayer and protest featured appearances of family members, who told a horrific story of being interviewed by SPD officers for hours Sunday night – not knowing their family member had been killed – and then looking outside only to see his cold body lying in the back yard.

Police had little comment Monday night other than to say now that Clark was not armed with a gun, but with a “toolbar.” Officers – looking for a subject in
the area allegedly breaking windows – shot Clark at point blank range. Family said he was shot in the back four times.

“He was not attacking the officers; he was moving away. He stays in the home and our door bell hasn’t worked for years…he just goes to the back yard to enter,” said one family member Monday.

Some in the crowd wondered why, nearly 24 hours later, police were still at the scene of the killing. And some speculated it wasn’t to gather evidence, as police claimed, but to possibly “plant” evidence to frame Clark.

The two SPD officers responsible for the shooting are on routine administrative leave, but said they had been “in fear of their lives” – despite evidence now that there was no gun used by Clark. The “in fear of their lives” claim is a common phrase used by officers in shootings, because it’s the court’s standard for justifying officers to shoot suspects in suspicious circumstances.

Clark’s family members implored those attending the protest Monday night to “respect the family and remain peaceful.” However, they still criticized SPD’s handling of the shooting, and treatment of the family.

SPD body-cameras and a Sheriff’s helicopter footage should be made available, per Sacramento City Council new rules, within 30 days for the public.

Despite the crowd so close to the crime scene, SPD officers didn’t come close to the Monday protest, which ended abruptly with screams of “gun” and participants running for their cars and hastily leaving. There was no evidence of a weapon and discharge of one, according to this reporter who was on the scene.

NOTES 1: Coincidentally, Black Lives Matter Sacramento announced a Cop Watch program that would train citizens to monitor law enforcement in their neighborhoods, recording their names, badge numbers and interactions with the public. BLM promised more details later.

NOTES 2: Law enforcement has killed about 226 people so far in 2018, about three people a day. California leads with at least 27 killed – nationally about 24 percent of those killed by law enforcement are Black.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. John Hobbs

    “The ‘in fear of their lives’claim is a common phrase used by officers in shootings, because it’s the court’s standard for justifying officers to shoot suspects in suspicious circumstances.”

    Yeah, they rehearse it at the academy. This happened a few blocks from me. There is allegedly body cam footage and footage from the SSD helicopter. we’ll see what we can see. The cops should have thought of a better lie than “toolbar” What the hell is a toolbar?

    This is another example of cops using lethal force in lieu of reason. That’s what we get when we deselect candidates for compassion and intelligence.


  2. Cindy Pickett

    Last month I got embroiled in a discussion about the Coffee with a Cop program where police officers are invited on to school campuses and they give out coffee and donuts as part of a public relations/community building effort. I received several emails from parents of color who felt uncomfortable with this not only because of their own past negative experiences with law enforcement but also because of the effects it might have for undocumented parents/students who are already afraid to leave their home (see recent ICE raids in California).

    Anyway, I tried to explain to the school board that people of color (particularly African-Americans) have a very different experience with law enforcement than the typical Davis family and that we should be sensitive to that. I am not sure how effective my plea was. SO, for the record, I’ll just say again that it is incidents like the one above that occurred just miles away, that creates a justifiable fear for some families and we should acknowledge and respect those fears.

    Off my soapbox now!

  3. John Hobbs

    ” for the record” I’m a white guy who definitely acknowledges and respects those fears and concerns.

    My neighbors and I always video/document police encounters, just to keep everyone honest.

  4. John Hobbs

    We now know that the “toolbar” was in fact a cell-phone. He was probably calling his grandmother to open the garage door when the cops shot him in the back.

  5. Howard P

    officers gunned down 

    Was this part of “reporting”, or something else?  Why not say “assassinated” or “murdered”?

    I that is what happened, those should be the charges against the officers…

    1. John Hobbs

      It is now known that the cops shot at him 20 times, while he was wearing headphones and listening to his girlfriend’s Iphone.

      “Clark’s girlfriend, Salena Manni, said the phone Clark held belonged to her. She said it was an iPhone 6 Plus in a rose gold-colored case with a black holder on the back to carry items like credit cards.

      Department spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler said each of the two officers involved in the shooting fired 10 shots, for a total of 20 shots fired.

      Both cops had four years experience at other agencies. I wonder why they left?

      Read more here:

      1. Howard P

        Agreed that more info is needed… was not judging the facts… was questioning the VG “reporting” terminology… interestingly, the Bee, citing the grandparents, was that there were four shots… in any event, this appears by all accounts I’ve seen, to be, at a minimum, a “wrongful shooting”…

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