Grandmother of slain Sacramento man calls for police changes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The grandmother of an unarmed black man killed by Sacramento police today called for changes in the way police confront suspects, such as sending in a police dog, using a Taser, or aiming for an arm or leg when shots are fired.
Sequita Thompson said at an emotional news conference that police didn't need to shoot at 22-year-old Stephon Clark 20 times, killing him in her darkened backyard March 18.
"They didn't have to kill him like that, they didn't have to shoot him that many times," she said through sobs, recounting the night of his slaying. She believes Clark was in the backyard trying to get into the house he shared with his grandparents and other family members when he was shot.
He's the latest prominent face of young black men killed by police nationwide, said the family's renowned civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump. He called it an "execution" of a man who "chose nonviolence" and was found with only a cellphone and not the handgun police thought he was aiming in their direction.
Members of the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics NBA teams took up his cause Sunday, wearing Clark's name on black warm-up T-shirts three days after protesters formed a human chain blocking entrances to the Kings' Golden1 Center and prevented all but about 1,500 fans from entering.
Police said they were pursuing a suspect who had broken at least three car windows and a neighbor's sliding glass door.
They say the suspect fled from two responding officers and ignored commands to stop and show his hands. Video and audio recordings released by the department last week show the officers appear to genuinely believe Clark had a gun, and independent experts said they are unlikely to face criminal charges.