Stevante Clark, 25-year-old brother of Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old unarmed black man who was murdered in his grandmother’s backyard by Sacramento police, stormed a Sacramento City Council meeting on Tuesday with a group of roughly 300 peaceful protestors to demand accountability for his brother’s death. They New York Times writes the protestors chanted in the foyer, “You shoot us down, we shut you down!”
Stevante entered the meeting room and led a powerful chant of “Stephon Clark” with a group of fellow demonstrators; Stevante went one step further and marched to the front of the room, jumped on the dais in front of council members and the mayor, and continued his chant.
Clark took the opportunity to be at the head of the city council meeting to criticize Sacramento leadership. "The mayor and the city of Sacramento has failed all of you," he said, and cited high rent, gang violence, and poverty as some of the prevalent issues at stake, per a CNN report. "Now the mayor wants to talk to me. The chief of police got my brother killed. He doesn't care. He shows no emotion at all,” he continued.
The protest prompted a brief recess in the meeting, and Mayor Darrell Steinberg ended up cutting the meeting two-and-a-half hours early, claiming he couldn’t guarantee the safety of the attendees.
Community members also attended the city council meeting to voice their outrage over Stephon’s death more directly. Many are advocating for the firing of the two officers who killed him. The two officers are currently on administrative leave pending a use-of-force investigation. The officers initially claimed they had been called to the scene after a call about a man breaking into cars in the area. They believed Stephon had a gun, but no gun was found on the scene. Stephon was holding his cell phone.
"I grew up in a city and in a neighborhood where grandma's backyard was a sacred place," Sacramento pastor Efrem Smith said. "I could play in grandma's yard. I could learn in grandma's yard. Sometimes I got a switch in my grandma's backyard. But I never ever thought I would die in my grandma's backyard."
Another man who spoke at the meeting referenced Tuesday’s news that the two Baton Rouge police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store in 2016 would not be charged. "We go into our investigations and it is determined that everything was done by the book," the man said. "If this is what your book looks like, then it's time to do away with the book. I'm calling for a complete overhaul."
While the protests were happening at the city council meeting, protesters blocked the entrance to Golden 1 Center, the NBA arena of the Sacramento Kings, for the second time this week. Demarcus Cousins, a former player of the Sacramento Kings, has offered to cover Stephon’s funeral expenses.