SACRAMENTO, CA - Countless activists and protestors swarmed Sacramento City Hall in an effort to voice their concerns and feelings over the shooting of Stephon Clark.
On March 18, law enforcement officers encountered Clark while responding to neighborhood complaints of car windows being broken. Clark was then shot and killed by officers who mistakenly believed he was in possession of a gun, but was found to only be holding his cell phone.
Community members protested last week, shutting down I-5 freeway in downtown Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings games on the evening of March 18. Nearly 300 or so individuals signed up to speak at the meetings that initially started at 1:00 p.m. earlier in the day.
Early in the forum, Stevante Clark, Clark’s younger brother, jumped on the council’s platform chanting his brother’s name. After Stevante stood on top of the podium and used obscene language, Mayor Darrell Steinberg called for a recess to appease tensions.
Crowds of people arrived well before the scheduled 5:00 p.m. start time to secure seats inside the chamber and others waited patiently outside and lobby. During the meeting, echoes of various chants filled the City Hall’s lobby and bled outside the building and carried thought out the block.
“Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. Say his name! Stephon Clark.”
An adjunct group of protesters, who were not able to able to enter the City Hall, were returning from their protesting at the Golden 1 Center during the Kings game that was initially scheduled to begin at 7pm.
Many turned to social media to record the event and share their experiences. There were countless minors with their guardians and young adults that made the bulk of the crowd. The atmosphere was a mixture of angst and anxiety. Those that did not chant stood in silence holding signs and wearing Black Lives Matter or apparel that commemorated those that were lost in similar circumstances.
Protester Alexander Johnson stood stoically in the middle of the lobby, holding up a poster with #StephonClark and said, “I think this protest is a step. It’s working and we just need to keeping taking small steps.”
Mother and Son, April Robison and James George, wore complimentary shirts standing hand-in-hand.
“I have already lost one son this way. I’m scared for my second son, I don’t want to lose another one,” April somberly spoke.
“I have a legacy I want to live and leave behind. I can’t do that if I’m dead,” said her son, James, who appeared to be a minor.
The counsel’s evening community forum, starting at 5pm on March 27th, was initially schedule to last till 11pm but was cut short an hour when a man was detained during the council meeting. There are plans that the forum will continue on Wednesday, March 29that 1pm allowing those that were not able to speak to do so.