‘His life matters’: Protests sweep Sacramento after police fatally shoot unarmed black man
Demonstrators filled the streets of California’s capital on Thursday evening. They were heard chanting “It’s not a gun, it’s a phone.”
The protesters lined the streets, blocking the traffic in the city. Some of them marched into City Hall, demanding to see the chief of police. The demonstrators held banners, saying “We need answers,” “His Life Matters” and “Stop killing us.”
Earlier on Thursday Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he had been appalled by the video. “Like any compassionate person, I was horrified by the death of a young Sacramento man who we later found out had two kids,” Steinberg told a news conference. “What was my reaction? It was horrible.”
Stephon Clark, 22, was confronted by police officers and shot dead in the back yard of the house he shared with his grandmother and his siblings on Monday. The footage from body cameras shows that the object he was carrying was not a ‘toolbar’, as police believed, but his cell phone. Clark was shot at least 20 times and died from his injuries.
Clark’s family was outraged over the disturbing manner in which the young man died. “He was shot so many times, so many times,” Clark’s grandmother Sequita Thompson said emotionally, as cited by ABC.
Big protest for #StephonClark, the unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by police, happening in Sacramento right now. Protestors blocking the entrance to the Kings game. pic.twitter.com/e7VaJ7CwLz— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 23, 2018
Clark’s fatal shooting is the latest incident in a series of killings of unarmed black men by police officers across the US. The death of black teen Michael Brown in 2014 led to massive Black Lives Matter protests worldwide and sparked national debates about racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, as well as the use of lethal force by police.
Since then, BLM protesters have rallied against the deaths of numerous other African Americans at the hands of officers or in police custody. The movement, sometimes referred to as the ‘Black Spring,’ quickly became global, sparking hundreds of demonstrations across the globe.
However, some argued that the campaign overlooked the importance of other categories of people, including police officers, who were also subjected to violence. Thus, ‘All Lives Matter,’ ‘White Lives Matter' and ‘Blue Lives Matter’ (for police) emerged as a response to BLM.