The murder of Stephon Clark and the fight against police violence
29 March 2018
Over the last week, hundreds of people in Sacramento, California have participated in demonstrations protesting the police murder of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old African American man who was unarmed when he was shot 20 times in his grandparent’s backyard. Many more are expected to pay their respects today at Clark’s funeral.
The eruption of renewed protests against police violence is part of the reemergence of social opposition in the US, including a wave of strikes and demonstrations by teachers and the March for Our Lives protests that involved more than one million students and youth last weekend.
Clark’s murder was caught on video by the police officer’s body cams and a police helicopter that was hovering overhead. The footage shows that the officers unleashed the barrage of bullets as soon as they rounded the corner of the house.
After gunning Clark down, the officers made no effort to administer any aid until backup arrived several minutes later, at which point they handcuffed his corpse and made a feeble attempt at CPR. Police video also shows that officers muted their microphones, presumably to get their story straight while off the record.
The release of the footage and the initial claims by the police that they mistook Clark’s cellphone for a gun have sparked a week of demonstrations. Clark’s family and protesters are demanding the arrest and prosecution of the two officers who murdered the unarmed man.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s announcement on Tuesday that his office would provide oversight of the District Attorney’s investigation into the killing and conduct its own investigation of the Sacramento Police Department’s policies was met with justifiable…