Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized the late Stephon Clark on Thursday in Sacramento, California, after the 22-year-old was shot 20 times and killed in a confrontation with police earlier this month even though he was unarmed.
Clark was holding a cell phone when he was shot after a pursuit with police who were looking for a suspect who was allegedly smashing car windows.
Outraged residents and Black Lives Matter activists have organized protests in the aftermath, even disrupting Sacramento Kings basketball games. (In response, the Kings have formed a partnership with local Black Lives Matter activists and contributed to an education fund for Clark’s two children.)
Sharpton was present at Clark’s funeral at the invitation of the Clark family, and was embraced by Clark’s brother, Ste’vante, who has led disruptive protests in the city in recent days and even interrupted the funeral service.
On Tuesday, Ste’vante disrupted a community meeting at City Hall about the shooting, jumping on mayor Darrell Sternberg’s desk and also shouting at him from the podium: “Hey shut up, you don’t run s*** here,” according to Bay Area public radio station KQED. The meeting was eventually shut down over concerns for public safety.
Ste’vante also reportedly seized the microphone during a speech during the funeral by an official from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Sharpton defended Ste’vante, according to KQED: “You don’t tell people when you kill their loved one how to grieve. … We did not come for you uppity, bourgeois, proper folk. We came for Ste’vante, we came for the family, we came because this boy should be alive today.”
Ste’vante Clark and Black Lives Matter leaders reportedly told protesters not to disrupt Thursday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, according to the AP; instead, they blocked traffic downtown.
Sharpton, who is often at the center of protests against police shooting of black suspects, and who inflamed national outrage over the shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in a struggle with a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida in 2012, blasted the Trump administration for its tepid response to the Clark shooting.
On Wednesday, the White House had called the shooting a “local matter,” declining to comment further.
According to CBS News, Sharpton said: “They have been killing black men all across the country — we are going to start standing up …. it’s time to stop this madness … We will make Donald Trump and the whole world deal with police misconduct. Stephon Clark has woke up the nation.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.