The family of Stephon Clark joined hundreds of people at a rally urging California’s capital city not to let his memory or calls for police reform fade nearly two weeks after the 22-year-old unarmed black man was killed by Sacramento officers. Clark’s fiancée, Salena Manni, stood on stage with his two young sons, grandmother, and uncle for the gathering Saturday organized by Sacramento native and former NBA player Matt Barnes, who pledged to create a scholarship fund for the children of Black men killed by police.
“All he wanted to do was go see his sons again, and unfortunately, he can’t,” Curtis Gordon, Clark’s uncle, said as he recalled seeing his nephew hours before the shooting. “So, remember that — while we mourn, while we shout, while we cry — because it ain’t just our pain, it’s their pain.”
Barnes amplified calls for charges against the two officers who are on administrative leave.
“It’s more than color — it comes down to right and wrong,” he said. “You’re trying to tell me I can kill someone and get a paid vacation?”
The peaceful demonstration that drew between 200 and 300 people to a downtown park came a day after a private autopsy released by the family showed Clark was shot from behind. Clark was killed March 18 by two police officers responding to a call of someone breaking into car windows. They yelled that he had a gun before shooting, but it was only a cellphone. The police department says it has not received an official autopsy report from the county coroner’s office.
Activists and faith leaders called for justice not just for Clark, but for all black men killed by police. Family members of Joseph Mann, who was killed by Sacramento police in 2016, also spoke. The chairman of a police oversight commission urged attendees to continue their activism by showing up to meetings and pushing for systemic change.