Protestors are rallying outside the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento, California, after blocking Interstate 5, which caused traffic to be diverted on Thursday. They are protesting the death of Stephon Clarke, an African-American man, who was killed by a police officer in his grandparent’s backyard.
The angry protesters positioned themselves behind security at the arena, blocking the entrance to the Golden 1 Center, NBC affiliate KCRA reported. Fans are unable to get into the stadium to watch the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks, which is still “scheduled as planned,” the center tweeted.
Some of the protesters initially knocked down a few of the security gates chanting “let us in.” Tension ran high between the basketball fans and the protestors, as the former tried to force their way into the stadium.
Black Lives Matter supporters told the press they are not sorry for the “inconvenience” people are facing due to their protest because as black men and women, they have been inconvenienced their entire life.
Protesters formed a human chain, actively blocking people from making their way into the stadium. Many protestors surrounded a police car that arrived in the area.
Some police officers used bicycles to block demonstrators from entering the stadium through a side entrance.
The protest comes a day after body cam footage of Clarke’s shooting was publicly released. Law enforcement officers were on the lookout for a car thief and finally confronted Clarke on Sunday.
Police officers ordered Clarke to show his hands when one of them shouted, “gun, gun, gun.” Immediately the officers started open firing at the suspect, shooting 20 rounds at him. After searching his body, it was found that he was unarmed and only carrying a cell phone.
Protestors walked down the freeway, which was temporarily closed down during their march, holding up their cell phones.
Before the protesters arrived at the Golden 1 Center, they clogged major downtown Sacramento streets near City Hall, circling the facility and confronting police officers.
They also walked onto Interstate 5 at J Street and blocked both sides of the road. Traffic came to a standstill and commuters were seen getting out of their vehicles on road. Some of the protestors jumped onto cars and others surrounded police patrol cars.
While most of the protestors made their way to the Golden 1 Center, some of them headed to Sauced BBQ and Spirits on 7th Street, climbing onto the overhang above the restaurant, jumping over a patio barrier and shouting at the patrons.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg commented on the tragedy before the protests began, saying: “The death of one more man of color is one too many.”
“The tragedy warrants not only our sorrow but a deep examination of what occurred and what policies and procedures must be examined and changed to minimize the chance that this does not happen again,” Steinberg added, Fox 40 reported.