Stephon Clark, 22, was shot to death by two police officers in circumstances that were in every way tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. On the night of March 18, two officers from the Sacramento Police Department responded to a radio call regarding a man who was seen breaking car windows in the city’s Meadowview neighborhood. The officers were on foot and checking the area when deputies overhead in a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department helicopter directed them to a possible suspect, later identified as Clark.

Clark was seen running through a backyard and jumping over a fence, then looking into a car parked in the driveway of what was later revealed to be his grandmother’s house, where Clark himself lived. The events that followed were captured on the two officers’ body-worn cameras and by the infrared camera in the helicopter. The Washington Post edited the videos and the accompanying audio, putting them together in a concise presentation that can be seen here.

As shown in the videos, an officer approaches Clark and at gunpoint orders him to “show me your hands.” Clark flees, running toward the backyard. The officer follows, soon joined by the second officer. Clark is ordered to stop, but instead he runs around the corner of the house and out of the officers’ view. The officers round the corner, then quickly retreat as one of them shouts, “Show me your hands! Gun!”

Both officers peek around the corner, at which time one of them shouts, “Show me your hands!” followed immediately by “Gun, gun, gun!” Both officers open fire, killing Clark.

It was later found that Clark, who was black, was carrying a cellphone, not a gun. His death has sparked protests in Sacramento.

Clark’s death falls into the category of shootings known unofficially among prosecutors as “awful but lawful.” It is true that he did not have a gun, but it is also true that the officers believed he did at the time they fired.

Read More at PJ Media.


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