March 31 (UPI) — Stephon Clark rallies continue in Sacramento, Calif., the latest two on Saturday after an independent autopsy found officers shot Clark eight times, with six of the bullets hitting him in the back.
Hundreds gathered for the rallies to demand justice for Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man who police shot on March 18 while he was standing in his grandmother’s yard.
Clark’s family hired Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist who was the subject of the film Concussion, to conduct an independent autopsy of Clark, whose death has prompted protests over excessive use of force by police and charges of racism.
Retired Sacramento Kings basketball player Matt Barnes led one of the rallies, which also paid tribute to Joseph Mann, who was killed by Sacramento officers in 2016.
“They killed Stephon Clark. They continue to kill us,” he told the crowd. “It’s more than color. It’s about wrong and right.”
Barnes said there are better solutions, such as officers spending more time in the communities they patrol, get out of their cars and walk the neighborhoods to reduce fears.
“Learn the community that you’re out here patrolling,” Barnes said
Since Clark’s death, rallies have disrupted traffic, blocked access to NBA basketball games and disrupted a local city council meeting.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a statement urging everyone to be patient as process of the investigation continues.
“We have an obligation to everyone involved, including the family of Stephon Clark, to wait for the full findings and results from the official autopsy and investigation,” Steinberg said. “As the mayor of our city, I assure the community and the public that we will aggressively seek answers to all of the questions the community is rightfully asking. As important, we will aggressively seek appropriate change to the protocols and training that led to this unacceptable outcome.”
On Saturday evening, a vigil for Clark is planned outside of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Florin Service Center.
“We will be lighting candles to call for justice for all victims of police terror and an end to all forms of police brutality,” vigil organizers said. “We welcome the community of Sacramento to come express their grief while also building an alternative to the system that has been killing and criminalizing us for too long.”