Body Cam Video Shows Police Shooting Unarmed Black Man In Backyard

By Bill Galluccio

March 22, 2018

Sacramento Police have released the body camera and helicopter video following the fatal shooting of an unarmed 22-year-old black man in his grandparent's backyard. Police said they believed that Stephen Clark was armed with a gun when they approached him on Sunday night. After an extensive search, they were unable to find a gun. Police said they discovered a cell phone near his body, and believe he was holding it as he walked toward the cops with his arm extended. 

The confrontation between the police and Clark lasted about one minute. The video shows the officers approaching Clark in the driveway of his grandparent's house. Clark then bolted toward the backyard as the police followed him. As they turn the corner they order him to show his hands. One cop can be heard shouting "gun" multiple times right before the officers opened fire. 

"They felt that the subject had a weapon, and that’s what they believed at that time, and they feared for their safety, and that’s why they fired their weapons," Sacramento Police Sgt. Vance Chandler said Tuesday.

Police were called to the area after a resident reported a black man in a hoodie was breaking car windows and hiding in a nearby backyard. A police helicopter was launched to aid officers on the ground in the search for the suspect. The officers in the helicopter said they watched him break the window of a nearby home, using what they described as a "toolbar." The officers in the helicopter guided the two officers on the ground to the suspect before the fatal encounter. 

The two officers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a statement saying that he has viewed the videos and "cannot second guess the split-second decisions of our officers," but promised a full investigation into the shooting. 

"The questions raised by the community and councilmembers are appropriate and must be answered during the investigation," he continued. "For instance, what are the protocols regarding use of force and for rendering emergency aid during officer involved shootings?"

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