Sacramento protest: ‘Prosecute cops who killed Stephon Clark!’

By Joel Britton
April 16, 2018
March in Sacramento after funeral of Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed by cops March 18.
AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliMarch in Sacramento after funeral of Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed by cops March 18.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hundreds packed into Bayside of South Sacramento Church here March 29 for the funeral of Stephon Clark, 22, an unarmed Black man gunned down by cops here March 18. So many people turned out to show solidarity that hundreds had to be turned away.

Outrage over the killing, caught on the cops’ body cameras, continued to spur protests in the days after the killing. Clark’s family, their lawyer, the NAACP and many protesters have called for the arrest and charging of Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal, the police officers who shot Clark. Protesters gathered several times outside District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s office demanding that she prosecute the officers.

Clark’s family arranged for pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu to conduct an autopsy on Clark’s bullet-riddled body. At a March 30 press conference, Omalu reported that seven of the eight bullets that struck Clark hit him in the back. Omalu’s report disputes the cops’ claims that Clark was advancing towards them with his hand outstretched when they shot him. For five minutes after the shooting cops did nothing to render first aid to Clark.

“We want to hold these officers to be accountable not only in Sacramento but across the country,” said Matt Barnes, the former Sacramento Kings basketball player. He organized a rally at Cesar Chavez Plaza of several hundred March 31 where members of the Clark family were joined on the stage by relatives of Joseph Mann, who was killed by cops here in 2016. Mann, who was mentally ill and homeless, was shot 16 times.

Cecilia McClinton, Mann’s niece, told the crowd, “We never had a chance to view his body. Two years later, still no justice. The officers are still getting paid … they need to be arrested!”

Socialist Workers Party members from the Bay Area knocked on the doors of working people in Sacramento March 25 to promote solidarity with the fight to get the cops who killed Clark prosecuted and find others interested in the party.

In the Meadowview neighborhood they met Faron Clark, who said he is part Irish and part Cherokee. He told SWP member Betsey Stone and oil refinery worker Ben Fields that he “felt bad for Stephon and for the cops” who killed him. When Stone said the officers should be prosecuted for firing 20 bullets at the unarmed Black man, Faron Clark said that he too had been “hassled by cops.” He got a subscription to the Militant and the book Are They Rich Because They’re Smart?