Sacramento Kings players call for accountability in police shooting death of Stephon Clark
Players took a stand in support of justice for the shooting victim, including a social media video responding to a bash against NBA ballers
Last Thursday, Black Lives Matter activists linked arms and prevented entry into Golden 1 Center during the matchup with the Atlanta Hawks to protest the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police. But now, Kings players have decided to take a stand in solidarity.
ABC News reported that on Sunday, the Sacramento players took their home court during their game against the Boston Celtics wearing t-shirts calling for accountability for the death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.
Call for justice
“ACCOUNTABILITY. WE ARE ONE,” reads the front of the shirt, with “#StephonClark” clearly printed on the back.
The move appears to have been supported by the NBA establishment, as a photo of the shirt — worn by Kings point guard Garrett Temple — appeared on their official Instagram account.
In addition, during the first-quarter timeout, a joint PSA by the Kings and the Celtics played over the Golden1 Center jumbotron.
In the public statement, several players reportedly varied in their messages. Some included, “These tragedies have to stop,” “There must be accountability,” “We will not stick to sports,” and “We will not shut up and dribble.”
The latter two were direct messages to conservative Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham who told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” earlier this month in response to his comments about racial matters in America.
The video was also uploaded to the Kings’ Twitter account.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 25, 2018
On Thursday following the protest that perhaps sparked the public response about Clark from the organization, the team said the following on the incident:
“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.”
It has also been reported that DeMarcus Cousins, former Sacramento Kings power forward, reached out to Clark’s family and offered to pay for all funeral expenses.
7 Things you should know about the Stephon Clark case
The Sacramento Bee reports that Sacramento police have killed at least 16 people in confrontation with authorities since 2016. Some were reportedly armed with guns, while others are said to have had knives and three were unarmed. The officers involved in the shooting of Stephon Clark have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
2. Police claim they thought Stephon Clark had a weapon.
Officers claim that they encountered Clark while looking for a suspect who was breaking car windows. The two police officers on the scene say they thought Clark was holding a “toolbar/crowbar” when they approached him in his grandparents back yard. Clark was merely holding his cellphone.
3. Police videos show one command and then a hail of bullets.
Sacramento Police released two audio and three video recordings from the shooting Wednesday night, according to the Bee. The only command given by one officer in the video to Stephon Clark is, “Put your hands up, gun!” What follows is the sound of a barrage of 20 shots with each officer reportedly firing 10 times.
4. Police officers muted their body cameras after the shooting.
Stephon Clark was pronounced dead at the scene after cops shot him in a barrage of 20 bullets. Six minutes after the fatal shooting, one officer can be heard telling another, “hey, mute,” referring to his body camera. At that time, both officers apparently muted their body camera microphones for the remainder of the video.
5. Stephon Clark was just trying to get inside his home.
The Bee reports, “It was normal for Clark and others to enter the home through the backyard because the front doorbell doesn’t work and she and her husband, who is in a wheelchair, have poor mobility. People would knock on the back window and ask her to use an automatic opener to raise the garage door to admit them.”
“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground,” said Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, detailing the four shots she says she heard loud and clear.
“I opened that curtain and he was dead,” said Thompson. “I started screaming.”
6. The police officers involved had relatively little experience.
According to the New York Times, the officers who fired their weapons have been with the department for two and four years and also had several years of experience in other departments. They were placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by district and city attorneys and the Office of Public Safety Accountability.
7. Protests and support for the family are planned.
Last Monday night, Black Lives Matter activists led more than 100 people, including family members, in a vigil and protest. Another protest is planned for 3:00 today.
The family started a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised more than $30,000 toward that goal.
The campaign is raising money to bury Stephon Clark next to his brother who also died due to gun violence