Black Lives Matter activists linked arms and prevented entry into Golden 1 Center, the home court for the Sacramento Kings. The purpose of the action was to protest the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed Black man who was shot to death by police in his own backyard on March 18.
Police who were in the area searching for a suspect breaking car windows, reportedly mistook Clark’s cellphone for a gun and opened fire–killing the 22-year-old father of two in a hail of 20 bullets.
During the protest on Thursday night, protesters chanted “Join us or go home,” and that’s basically what happened. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Atlanta Hawks in a nearly empty arena. Most ticket holders were unable to gain entry.
Sacramento ACT community organizer Ryan McClinton told theGrio in an exclusive interview, that the shutdown had a strong message.
“Getting people to understand the disruption our lives take on; that we’re not able to move normally after a shooting like this,” says McClinton. “If that small moment hurt peoples feelings then oh well, because we live in that pain and walk in that pain.”
— Mike Tavares (@SactownMike0476) March 23, 2018
The Sacramento Police Department tweeted that they were no longer allowing entrance into the arena. They did not specifically attribute the action to the protest, but noted “unforeseen circumstances.”
— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) March 23, 2018
According to CNN, the NBA and the Kings were the ones who decided to bar further entry into the arena. No arrests were made.
Sacramento Kings owner, Vivek Ranadivé, addressed the crowd after the game, flanked by players and Kings front office executives.
“On Sunday we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community.We at the Kings recognize people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. And we stand here before you — old, young, black, white, brown — and we are all united in our commitment,” said Ranadivé.
The Kings owner went on to convey a sense of optimism for the future. “We recognize that it’s not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community, and we’re going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”
“We will not stick to sports. We will not shut up and dribble.”
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) March 26, 2018