- Sacramento Police released video and audio footage on Wednesday of police officers fatally shooting an unarmed black man in his backyard.
- The suspect, 22-year-old Stephon Clark, was later found to only be holding an iPhone.
- Police maintain that Clark was guilty of breaking car windows, but his grandmother disagrees, saying that he was much shorter than the suspect.
Sacramento police fatally shot an unarmed black man in his own backyard on Sunday after receiving a 911 call about a man breaking car windows in the neighbourhood.
Two officers went into the suspect’s backyard before firing 20 shots and killing 22-year-old Stephon Clark who they believed was armed.
Clark was holding only a white iPhone.
“This guy’s going down the street breaking windows of cars … he’s in the people’s backyard now,” the 911 caller told the dispatcher.
Helicopter footage shows Clark jumping over his neighbour’s fence and into his backyard while the two officers move through the driveway and into the backyard with their guns drawn.
As one of the officers enters the backyard through the driveway, body-cam footage shows him with a flashlight yelling “Hey! Show me your hands! Stop! Stop! … Show me your hands! Gun! Gun! Gun!”
Both officers then open fire, sending 20 bullets towards Clark. Helicopter footage shows officers continuing to fire after Clark is shot on the ground.
“At the time of the shooting, the officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them,” Sacramento police said in a statement released on Wednesday. “After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms. The only items found near the suspect was a cell phone.”
For at least three minutes after the shooting, body-cam footage shows one officer continue to shine his flashlight and point his gun at Clark as multiple officers yell to him.
“We need to know if you’re OK,” one female officer is heard saying.”We need to get you medics, so we can’t go over and get you help until we know you don’t have a weapon,” she said three minutes after the shooting.
Clark didn’t respond.
“He had something in hands, looked like a gun from our perspective,” one male officer is heard saying.
Clark’s grandmother, Sequita Thompson, was in the dining room of the home when her grandson was killed. Clark had been staying with his grandparents at the time of his death.
“I opened up the curtain, and he was gone,” Thompson told the Sacramento Bee, choking up. “He was dead … He was just laying there, blood was all over him – and it was an iPhone.”
“I told the officers ‘you guys are murderers, murderers,'” Thompson said, pointing out the window where her grandson was killed. “You took him away from his kids for nothing.”
Police appear to maintain that Clark was breaking the windows, but Thompson denies the allegations, adding that her grandson was much shorter than the description given to police and that someone else was breaking the windows.
The Sacramento Police Department did not respond to Business Insider’s multiple calls and an email asking if it’s standard procedure to dispatch a helicopter and for officers to have their guns drawn before observing the suspect at the scene of a call of someone breaking car windows.
“The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) recognises the significance of this incident and the impact it has on our community,” a statement from the department reads. “We are committed to providing timely information and communicating openly with our community.”
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