Human Rights

Protests Continue Over Killing of Stephon Clark as Autopsy Reveals Officers Shot Him in the Back

"This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police," says family's attorney.

Photo Credit: Chris Wieland / Flickr CC

Protests over the deadly police shooting of 22-year-old unarmed Stephon Clark are continuing on Saturday, with a former NBA player set to lead a rally in Sacramento to continue the call for justice and accountability.

"I love Sacramento and this community will always be a part of me," said Matt Barnes, whose basketball career included playing with the Sacramento Kings. "As the father of two boys, I can't stay silent on this issue. We clearly need to unite, organize, and act to bring the accountability that is so desperately needed. This rally is the beginning to seeing that change."

The schedule rally follows four consecutive nights of protests over the March 18 shooting.

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protest Friday evening, led by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, came hours after an independent autopsy showed that Sacramento police shot Clark eight times, with the first six of those times in his back, thus refuting the police version that Clark "turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him." [That object was a cellphone.]

"The proposition that has been presented that he was assailing the officers, meaning he was facing the officers, is inconsistent with the prevailing forensic evidence," forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu said at a news conference with family attorney Benjamin Crump.

Crump, for his part, said, "This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances."

"His back was turned—he didn't get a chance," said Latarria McCain, among those protesting Friday night.

Also raising questions about the shooting is the fact that officers muted their body cameras after firing shots. "Any time there is muting on this camera, it builds suspicion—as it has in this case," Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told CNN affiliate KCRA. "And that is not healthy for us in our relationship with our community."

Andrea Germanos is a staff writer for Common Dreams.