Stevante Clark made sure he’d be heard.
Clark and a large group of protesters stormed a Sacramento City Council meeting Tuesday night to protest the shooting death of his brother — Stephon Clark — by police. While his fellow demonstrators filled the chamber, Stevante Clark marched straight to the front of the room, jumped on top of the dais right in front of stunned council members and the mayor and repeatedly chanted his brother’s name.
As the crowd joined in the chant, Stevante Clark coaxed them on. “Louder! Louder! Louder!” he yelled.
The move illustrated just how hot passions are burning in Sacramento after police shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man, earlier this month.
Police said officers had pursued Clark over a call about a man breaking car windows, and shot him in his grandmother’s yard after a brief encounter lasting less than a minute. The officers said they thought Stephon Clark had a gun, but only his cell phone was found on the scene.
Protesters have been hitting the streets of Sacramento ever since. They’ve blocked highways with their demonstrations and twice, including Tuesday night, blocked entrances to the Golden 1 Center before Sacramento Kings NBA basketball games.
‘Does this look like a gun?’
Stevante Clark, standing right in front of the city council, lambasted city leadership, saying “the mayor and the city of Sacramento has failed all of you,” citing high rent, gang violence and poverty in the city.
“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.”
Clark’s outburst forced a brief recess, and Mayor Darrell Steinberg later ended the meeting early, saying he couldn’t guarantee the safety of the attendees.
But before that others in the crowd addressed the council, voicing their anger over Stephon Clark’s death as well as other police shootings of African Americans. They expressed frustration over a legal system that fails to prosecute or convict officers. They want the two officers involved in the Clark shooting fired and prosecuted.
And they focused on the flash point in this case: that Stephon Clark was gunned down in his own grandmother’s backyard while armed with nothing more than a cell phone.
At one point in the meeting, a male speaker urged attendees to stand and direct their cell phones toward the city council.
“Does this look like a gun?” he asked.