By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – Newly launched video footage of police killing an unarmed black man in a barrage of gunfire in Sacramento, California, left the mayor “horrified” and sparked avenue protests on Thursday that gridlocked site visitors within the state capital for hours.
Police stated the video, captured by physique cameras worn by officers concerned in Sunday night time’s confrontation, confirmed the sufferer, Stephon Clark, 22, holding an object that later turned out to be a cellphone as he was shot 20 occasions.
The video was launched by police late on Wednesday and it quickly went viral on the web.
Sunday’s capturing was the newest in a sequence of killings of unarmed black males by police throughout the United Said since 2014 that has sparked a nationwide debate about racial bias within the felony justice system and using deadly drive.
Greater than 200 demonstrators gathered on Thursday to denounce the capturing in a protest organized by the Black Lives Matter motion. The protests have been orderly and police allowed a bunch of demonstrators to march onto Interstate 5 on the peak of the commuter rush hour as they blocked all southbound lanes.
Site visitors was backed up on the freeway, and thru a lot of the downtown space, for hours.
The group then marched on to the state capitol constructing earlier than converging outdoors the Golden 1 Heart basketball enviornment, stopping many followers ready to see a recreation between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks from getting in to the occasion.
The Kings later issued an announcement asking these followers to return house and promising refunds for his or her tickets.
Hours earlier, Mayor Darrell Steinberg instructed reporters he was appalled by video of the capturing.
“Like every compassionate particular person, I used to be horrified by the dying of a younger Sacramento man who we later came upon had two children,” Steinberg instructed a information convention. “What was my response? It was horrible.”
Protesters marched into Metropolis Corridor throughout the day shouting “It is a cellphone, not a gun” and demanded to see the police chief.
“I’ve 4 grandbabies who’re black and I do not need them taken,” stated protester Tami Collins, 47, who’s white.
Sacramento police stated the capturing stemmed from a report of somebody breaking automobile home windows in a residential space the place officers later discovered three broken autos. Police stated the suspect was additionally seen from a helicopter shattering a glass door of a home earlier than leaping a fence right into a yard subsequent door.
The video from police physique cameras confirmed two officers chase Clark by way of the darkish with their flashlights and switch the nook of a home to face him within the yard, yelling: “Present me your fingers” and “gun” earlier than they opened hearth.
The officers had seen Clark “advance ahead along with his arms prolonged and holding an object,” which they mistakenly believed was a gun, police stated.
Officers waited 5 minutes after the capturing till backup arrived earlier than approaching Clark to assist him, police stated.
The encounter unfolded behind Clark’s grandparents’ house, the place he was staying, in accordance with the Sacramento Bee newspaper, which spoke to his kin.
Sacramento prosecutors have been investigating the incident.
(Further reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in LOS ANGELES; Enhancing by Leslie Adler and Paul Tait)