The ACLU Foundation of Northern California joins Sacramento community members in their outrage around the killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who Sacramento police fatally shot on Sunday.
Clark appeared to be posing no threat when two Sacramento police officers entered the backyard of his home and fired 20 rounds at him. Though police initially said he was holding a weapon, he was actually holding a cell phone.
Being a Black man in a hooded sweatshirt should not be a death sentence. Trained police officers should use the least amount of force necessary.
We see stories like Clark’s again and again. Police for too long have used excessive force against communities of color, killing Black people without justification and without consequence. Racist policing is a systemic problem, not a series of isolated incidents.
We urge the Sacramento Police Department to release the body camera footage quickly as its own policies require, and the district attorney to conduct a swift investigation and bring all appropriate charges against the officers involved.
Unfortunately, California state law makes the investigations into police killings and any resulting discipline, or corrective action, completely secret. That must change. The public deserves to get a detailed account of the actual investigation. The community has a right to know what happened. The residents of Sacramento deserve to know how police, who act in their name, came to take the life of an unarmed father of two in his own backyard.
We demand accountability for the epidemic of police violence against Black people. We demand transparency from the Sacramento Police Department. We demand justice for Stephon Clark.