Matt Barnes announces scholarships for #StephonClark’s sons
As protests continue over the death of Stephon Clark, Former Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes has stepped up to do his part.
Saturday, Barnes organized a rally and vowed to pursue change in a personal way by offering Clark’s kids – and others who lost a parent to police violence – a college scholarship.
“You have my word, being from here, that I’m going to do everything. I’m sitting down with the mayor, I’m sitting down with the gang leaders, and I’m going to be in your community and I’m going to be the driving force behind Sacramento,” he said.
Barnes held Clark’s children while speaking about how he would be the driving force behind fighting for reform after police gunned down 22-year-old Clark and an independent autopsy determined that Clark was shot six times in the back by Sacramento police, reports CNN.
“I got two 9-year-old boys that look just like this, and I fear for them,” said at Cesar Chavez Plaza on Saturday.
“How do we explain to our kids that just because of the color of your skin, people aren’t going to like you? That’s not fair. But that’s something you have to explain to your kids every day.”
“This is not a Sacramento problem, this is a nationwide problem,” said Barnes, who also helped organize and pay for the event.
Fighting for Change
Clark’s family and activists are demanding answers following a forensic pathologist report revealed that Clark was shot eight times – six of those shots were to his back and he struggled to get into his grandmother’s home.
“It’s more than color,” Barnes told the crowd at the second of two rallies Saturday. “It comes down to wrong and right.”
In results released on Friday by his family’s legal team, Clark received no entry wounds from the front of his body, according to theSacramento Bee. Instead, the autopsy found, he was facing his grandmother’s house with his left side pointed toward the officers who shot him, first hitting him under the left arm. But the blast of that shot spun him around so that his back was toward the officers leaving it exposed to six more shots. Another shot struck him in his left thigh as he fell to the ground.
Clark has his cell phone in hand. Officers first claimed they thought it was a gun.
Jamilia Land, a family friend said Clark’s brother Stevante is taking his death pretty hard. Stevante has been seen on TV displaying what some has called erratic behavior. He disrupted a Sacramento City Council meeting earlier in the week and jumped on the dais.
“You don’t know the damage inside,” Land said. “We are living in communities that look like war zones. You don’t know what it is like to go to the home that you grew up in and hear … that your brother was murdered in his grandmother’s backyard.”
Cold Blooded Killing
Family attorney Benjamin Crump said the autopsy result “affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The procedure was conducted by pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, whose study of a degenerative brain condition in football players prompted the NFL to adopt new safety rules designed to prevent concussions, also determined Clark took up to 10 minutes to die, the Associated Press reported. The officers have been criticized by activists for allegedly failing to render medical aid immediately after the shooting.
“The proposition is he was facing officers is inconsistent with prevailing forensic evidence,” Omalu said at a Friday news conference with Crump. “He was facing the house, with his left to the officers,” Omalu said. “He wasn’t facing the officers. His left back was facing to the officers.”
How it happened
Clark was killed March 18 when Sacramento police got a call reporting a car burglar in the city’s Meadowview area. The two officers chased Clark into the back yard of his grandparents’ home and ordered him to show them his hands, then fired 20 shots at him, believing he had a weapon. However, he only had a cellphone in his possession.
The officers’ body cameras were muted, although police chief Daniel Hahn has reportedly said he does not know why they were.
The Sacramento Police Department has not responded to the release of the private autopsy saying it has not received the official Sacramento County coroner’s report yet. Clark’s shooting death is being investigated by the department and California attorney general Xavier Becerra said earlier this week that he would join the investigation.
The demonstrations touched off days of heated protests in the city, including demonstrators marching to the Golden1 center and several times blocked entry for fans of the Sacramento Kings, who were waiting to see the teams play the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics on different nights.
Demonstrators also became emotional at a special city council meeting, led by Clarke’s brother Stevante, who took the microphone from council speaker Larry Carr and yelled at mayor Darrell Steinberg and strongly criticized police chief Daniel Hahn before being taken off by supporters.