Stevante Clark, the older brother of the unarmed Sacramento, Calif., man who was gunned down by police in his own backyard, went on “CNN Tonight” Wednesday to discuss the aftermath of Stephon Clark’s death. But the interview didn’t go as many may have predicted.
The younger Clark was shot and killed Sunday, March 18 when officers responded to reports of a man smashing car windows in the neighborhood. Cops initially believed he had a gun, but it was actually a “phone.” Clark, 22, had been ordered to stop but fled behind the house instead, where officers’ bullets struck him 20 times.
When asked about how he and his family were holding up in the wake of Clark’s death, Stevante rang a bell and told Don Lemon to move on to the next question.
“OK,” Lemon responds. “Obviously you are in grief right now.”
“I’m not in grief, OK?” Stevante says before getting choked up. “We haven’t slept, we haven’t ate. The media follows us everywhere we go. The only person [that] got the message before we came on the air was the Mayor [Darrell Steinberg]. He called me and said he is going to help us build a library and recreational center.”
The older Clark goes on to elaborate on the 24-hour recreational center being built for the community, when he says, “just know that I’m going to be real connected. We’re working with each other. We’re going to work with each other. I love my city. I did this for my city. We are the example how to do it right.
“The media waits until the loved ones dies swarm that person,” he says. “Put them in grief. They ruin their lives forever. Their lives are never the same.”
Then, when Lemon interjects, Clark becomes irritated.
“I’m not blaming the media,” he says. “But the way you guys treat us, you guys, I told you I stopped calling.”
“Can you let me get a word in, please,” Lemond says. “Listen, I have to manage the time here so that we can get something out of this interview because a lot of people are watching. Your brother’s story will be told. The media is giving you a platform —”
“Don lemon say his name” Stevante interjects.
“So tell me about your brother, please,” Lemon responds.
At this point, Stevante, who a day earlier had interrupted a city hall meeting and taunted the mayor, threw his hands up and commanded Lemon to say his brother’s name again.
Then, he and Lemon conclude the interview, with Stevante saying CNN “messed up on our name” and sent the family’s driver late.
“That’s messed up, we love you Don Lemon,” Stevante says.
The 25-year-old had an emotional day. During his brother’s wake, The Daily Mail reported he had to be held back after shouting at media outside Bayside of South Sacramento Church.
Online, CNN viewers expressed sympathy for the grieving brother.
“CNN Don Lemon interview with Stephon Clark’s brother Stevante, one of the most wrenching interviews I have witnessed,” someone tweeted. “Why couldn’t Don just say Stephon’s name, as repeatedly asked by grief-stricken and angry Stevante? #heartbreaking.”
“Strange Clark’s interview with Don Lemon was painful to watch,” another user said. “He’s hurting. His feelings are still raw. His points about the media are valid. #StephonClark #sayhisname.”
“Stephon Clark’s brother just showed excruciating grief on Don Lemon,” remarked someone else. “That’s f’ing real & my heart is shattered for his family. These slaughters of fathers, brothers, sons — men in our communities must stop. If you’re blind to this, you’re part of the sickness in this country.”