Stephon Clark is the latest name on a list of black men killed by police: Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Walter Scott, among others.
“I know there could have been another way,” his brother Stevante Clark told CNN Sacramento affiliate KOVR. “He didn’t have to die.”
Stephon Clark, 22, was shot and killed the evening of Sun., March 11 in his grandmother’s Sacramento backyard by officers who believed he was pointing a gun at them, according to police. No weapon was found, only a cell phone.
Two officers — one of them Black — have been placed on paid administrative leave amid a use of force investigation in a case that sparked protests on the streets of Sacramento and the arena where an NBA game was played Thursday night.
Stephon Clark is remembered as outgoing, a father of two young sons who was trying to turn his life around despite previous trouble with the law, his brother said.
“He was arrested before, but he’s been different lately,” Stevante Clark told CNN sister network HLN.
“He really changed his life. He was a people person who everybody wanted to be around. We came from underprivileged, broken homes, but he didn’t care about nothing else but his kids.”
Stephon Clark liked football, sneakers and video games, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Made ‘money selling shoes’
“He was like Ric Flair,” Stevante Clark said, referring to the stylish wrestler. “He was an entrepreneur. He would make money selling shoes.”
The shooting happened on Sunday after 9 p.m., when Sacramento officers responded to a report that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. They pursued a man who hopped a fence into the grandmother’s property.
The shooting was captured by the two officers’ body cameras and a police helicopter; that footage was released has already been released by the police in an effort to be transparent.
The body camera videos show the brief encounter between police and Clark, lasting less than a minute, from the moment one of the officers yelled: “Hey, show me your hands. Stop. Stop.”
Police said the officers entered the front yard and saw the suspect along the side of the home. The man “turned and advanced toward the officers while holding an object” extended in front of him, according to the police account.
“Show me your hands!” one of the officers yelled. “Gun, gun, gun.”
Seconds later, officers opened fire as they took cover near a wall.
His relatives have hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and others.
“Where is the restraint when it comes to our children and our lives,” said Crump during a press conference.
“The shooting death of Stephon Clark is an all-too-common tragedy,” Crump said in a statement. “It is yet another troubling example of a young, unarmed black man being shot by police under highly questionable circumstances.”
Police said they found at least three vehicles with damage they believe Clark caused, as well as an adjacent residence with a shattered sliding glass door. Deputies in the helicopter witnessed him shatter the door, police said.