The family of slain Sacramento man Stephon Clark, who was gunned down by police in his grandparents’ backyard earlier this month, is demanding answers, and justice, in the wake of the deadly shooting.
On Monday, representatives from both the state and local chapters of the NAACP, as well as members of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, gathered before the media and spoke about Clark’s tragic death. Members of Clark’s family and attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the families of other high-profile police shooting victims, were also in attendance at Monday’s emotional press conference.
“I just want justice for my baby,” Clark’s grandmother, Sequita Thompson said through tears after describing the moment she heard the gunshots, not knowing police had just killed her grandson.
“I just want justice for Stephon Clark,” she sobbed before falling into the arms of Crump, after which she was led away from the podium.
Clark, a father of two, was fatally shot after police said he approached them with what appeared to be a gun. The 22-year-old was unarmed, however, and only carrying a cell phone. Clark was suspected of breaking car windows in the area, prompting the police response. Two officers fired 10 shots each at the young man, killing him at the scene.
Speaking at the podium, Crump compared the Clark shooting to the arrest of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, who was arrested without incident after gunning down 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School last month. The family attorney then highlighted the fact that authorities followed the suspected Austin bomber for hours without once shooting him.
Stephon Clark family attorney Ben Crump:
Florida shooting suspect "was not shot once. But a young black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times. Young man who was bombing homes in Austin … He wasn't shot once. But an unarmed black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times." pic.twitter.com/IuHVMAJxkj
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 26, 2018
“But a young black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times,” Crump said. “This is all too often a pattern in America … We will stand up for Stephon, and we’ll speak up for Stephon until we get justice.” He added that the family is seeking an independent autopsy of Clark’s body.
Alice Huffman, president of the California-Hawaii NAACP, also spoke, telling reporters that Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has failed to answer the organization’s calls about the fatal shooting. She said the group is now looking to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division for help in launching a federal investigation into the shooting.
The news conference concluded with passionate chants from the crowd, led by Clark’s brother, Stevonte Clark.
“Stephon Clark! Stephon Clark!” they shouted in unison, some people sobbing. “We’ve had enough!” and “We’re tired!”