Sacramento tense as city prepares for Stephon Clark funeral Thursday

March 29 (UPI) — The city of Sacramento, Calif., family members and supporters are preparing for Thursday’s funeral of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man mistakenly shot dead by two police officers.

Protests have continued for days in the California capital following the March 18 shooting, in which Clark was shot standing in his grandmother’s yard. Officers responding to a call about a car vandal said they believed the cellphone in his hand was a weapon.

A funeral for Clark will begin at 11 a.m. PDT Thursday. The eulogy will be delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

At 3 p.m., protests are expected in front of the district attorney’s office, continuing unrest in Sacramento as hundreds of demonstrators express anger over the killing, demanding the officers be fired and prosecuted.

Other protests of Clark’s death have been held in San Diego, Portland, Ore., and Watertown, Mass., with more scheduled across the country.

The man’s death sparked outrage — and numerous demonstrations in Sacramento that blocked roadways, interrupted a meeting at City Hall and confronted thousands of fans from entering Sacramento Kings basketball games.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said previously he would not second guess officers on their decision to shoot, but later said Clark’s shooting was “just plain wrong.”

Struggling to maintain order in the city, Steinberg said if police had not shown restraint in their response to the protests, the city would have been at risk for a full-scale riot.

During a meeting at Sacramento City Hall Tuesday night, Stevante Clark jumped on top of a table in front of councilors and and chanted his brother’s name. He then directed the crowd to do the same, and to raise their cellphone and ask the council if it resembled a gun.

Steinberg adjourned the meeting 2 and-a-half hours early out of safety concerns. The mayor later tweeted that council meetings would resume after Clark’s funeral Thursday.

With the case spreading nationally, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday Clark’s death was “a terrible incident,” but called it “a local matter.”

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