Family disputes California police account in shooting of black man

From Reuters - March 24, 2018

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - The family of an unarmed black man shot to death by police officers in the backyard of his grandparents house in Sacramento, California, disputes the police account that he had earlier been breaking windows, the familys attorney said on Friday.

Two officers, responding to a report of someone shattering car windows, fatally shot Stephon Clark, 22, on Sunday night. The encounter was captured on video.

Police on Wednesday released body camera and helicopter video of the shooting in Sacramento, the state capital, sparking street protests the next day.

This family completely rejects anything that the Sacramento Police Department tried to claim to justify this execution of their loved one, said Benjamin Crump, the familys attorney. He said the police had been untruthful, saying that police initially told the family Clark had a crow bar but the only item found by Clarks body was a cell phone.

Crump previously represented the family of Michael Brown, the black teenager whose 2014 shooting death by police in Ferguson, Missouri, near St. Louis, sparked nationwide protests.

Since Browns death, a series of killings of unarmed black men by police across the United Stated has fueled a nationwide debate about racial bias and the use of lethal force.

On Sunday night, police said, Sacramento County sheriffs deputies in a helicopter saw Clark break a sliding glass door at a neighboring house, then hop a fence into a backyard.

When officers confronted Clark in the backyard, he was holding an object officers feared was a firearm and they shot him 20 times, police said. It was later discovered he only had a cell phone.


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