SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento’s controversial officer involved shooting (OIS) has led to a response from the chief as well as protests in the streets.
As Stephon Clark’s family and the surrounding Meadowview neighborhood began to sort through the shock, anger and grief of his police shooting death Sunday, one key question emerged: Was he actually the man officers were looking for from the 911 call?
Police Chief Comments
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said Wednesday he believes Clark was the man a neighbor four doors down reported was breaking car windows.
“Do I believe he was the one based on what we know now? I believe that, yeah, but can we factually say it yet? No. But when and if we can, we will put that out,” Hahn told The Sacramento Bee.
“Everything indicates he was, but you can’t say factually it was him yet. We don’t have those facts yet.”
The reporting party in the 911 call said a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and pants with “white stripes or white dots” had broken the windows of his truck and a window of another car. The witness could not provide dispatchers with the man’s race, but said he was “about 6-foot tall, maybe 6-3 at the most” and had a “thin build.”
“This guy’s going down the street busting windows of cars,” the caller said on audio released by the department Tuesday. “He’s in people’s backyard right now across the street from my place. He busted two of my windows and he broke the car’s window out across the street from me.”
It’s unclear whether the 911 caller witnessed the man break the windows of the cars, but he told a dispatcher, “I heard the noise and came outside and he was standing right alongside my truck.”
The witness added he didn’t see a pattern on the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt.
Police officer body camera footage released by the department showed Clark was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark sweatpants with white stripes.
However, it also showed that Clark’s sweatshirt had large white letters on the front that read “THE NORTH FACE” with thick white and red lines in patterns around the words.
The witness told dispatchers he had “no idea” what the man used to break the windows of the automobiles.
“It was weird, he was just standing next to the truck,” the man told a dispatcher. “I walked out and said, ‘Excuse me, who are you, what are you doing?’ And then I realize, I looked and saw that my window was busted out and that’s when I went after him and he took off.”
The witness told the dispatcher the suspect would be “lucky to be alive if I had gotten a hold of him.”
Police officers arrived on the scene more than 8 minutes after the witness called 911 and were directed to Clark when Sheriff’s deputies in a helicopter spotted a man in a backyard two doors down from the home of the 911 caller.
Body Cam Video
Protesters angry about the killing took to the streets Thursday, first mobilizing outside city hall with chants of “Come outside.”
— Ezra David Romero (@ezraromero) March 22, 2018
Later, the crowds moved to Interstate 5, shutting down all traffic on the highway during rush hour, reported theblaze.com.
Protesters Block Fans
The protest eventually made its way to the Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team.
The Kings were scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. Before the game, protesters locked arms outside the arena and blocked thousands of patrons from entering.
As a result, the start of the game was delayed. Nevertheless, the NBA opted not to cancel it. For the safety of patrons, the Kings closed the doors of the arena to fans who hadn’t already gotten inside. Consequently, they were offering refunds to those who were forced to miss the game.
The arena holds about 17,000 people, but only about 2,000 got inside to see the game.
Sacramento Kings Owner Responds
The Kings’ owner addressed those fans after the game, expressing support for the right to peaceful protest and attempting to unify the community.
“We recognize that it is not just business as usual and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community,” said the owner, Vivek Ranadive. “We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”