SACRAMENTO – Emotions are running high as Sacramento’s African American community calls for justice in the police-involved shooting death of a local unarmed Black man, Stephon Clark.
A “Community Dialogue” with the Sacramento City Council was interrupted Tuesday night more than once by protesters causing Mayor Darrell Steinberg to adjourn the meeting about 8:30 p.m. — earlier than expected. Mayor Steinberg had announced prior to the meeting that City officials were prepared to listen to comments from the community until 11 p.m. Tuesday night and also Wednesday at 1 p.m. and again at 5 p.m., if necessary.
During one exchange, Clark’s brother, Ste’vonte Clark, stormed into Council Chambers, chanting his brother’s name and even jumping on the dais behind which Mayor Steinberg and City Council members were sitting. Ste’vonte Clark shouted down the mayor and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, but also called attention to other issues facing the Black community, such as housing inequality and the lack of places for youth to go when they need help.
Clark, and a group of other Black men who entered City Hall with him, were eventually escorted out of Council Chambers and proceeded outside, where a large crowd chanted his brother’s name and called for justice in his death. Community speakers who remained on the inside spoke of racial profiling, the lack of faith in local law enforcement and asserted that “no property is worth the loss of life.”
Some also said that whether or not they agreed with how Ste’vonte Clark expressed himself, they understood his pain. Meadowview community activist Jackie Rose asked that the Council understand that he’s grieving.
“We have a different way of grieving, but it’s real,” said Pastor Joy Johnson, president of Sacramento Area Congregations Together.
Protesters have taken over Sacramento streets the last two weeks since Clark’s March 18 death, including shutting down a major highway on March 22 and later causing the lockdown of the Golden 1 Center before the Kings took on the Atlanta Hawks.
Protesters left the community dialogue session Tuesday that drew local leaders and members of the public, and again moved to the Golden 1 Center. The Kings organization once again shut down doors to ensure the safety of those inside for the game against the Dallas Mavericks.
*The Sacramento OBSERVER continues to cover this story as it unfolds. More will be in this week’s issue of the paper, and those to follow.
City officials have decided to postpone today’s planned meeting with community residents following Tuesday night’s abrupt ending.
A statement from City Hall read as follows: “Out of respect for the family we will not reconvene (Wednesday) but are committed to ensuring the community is heard and we will share information for future meetings as it becomes available.”