The Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, on Wednesday released a statement regarding the fatal shooting on Sunday evening of an unarmed black man. Stephon Clark was shot in his own backyard after police officers mistook his mobile phone for a weapon.
In his statement, Steinberg said that he sympathizes with the family of the victim for their unexpected loss and that his heart is broken for California’s capital.
He also thanked police chief Daniel Hahn and the department for their transparency regarding the investigation.
Steinberg also revealed that he had watched the bodycam footage of Clark’s shooting and would not second-guess the response of the officers involved until the investigation in the case was completed.
Reports state that Clark was shot 20 times on Sunday in South Sacramento as authorities responded to a call that said a six-foot-one man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants was breaking car windows. Police reportedly reached the scene at 9:15 EDT.
Clark was shot in the backyard of his house that he shared with his grandparents and some siblings.
Police officials reportedly chased the suspect as he ran towards the back of the house where he turned and advanced towards them “while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”
“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times. The involved officers held their position for approximately five minutes until additional officers arrived. Officers approached the suspect, handcuffed him and began life-saving efforts,” the police department said.
However, no firearm was discovered at the scene. Instead, investigators found a cellphone near Clark’s body. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The Sacramento Police Department and the mayor received a lot of heat for the manner in which Clark was shot.
“An innocent black man, going to his grandma and grandpa’s house where he lived,” Clark’s aunt, Shernita Crosby said. “How are you going to explain that? How are you going to justify that?”
In response, Steinberg added in his statement that the questions raised by the public and councilmen were justified. All the queries would be answered once the investigation was completed, he said.
“Whether it is gun violence on our streets or in our schools, we must find ways to come together to heal, to grow and to stand with one another in our times of pain, in our times of need, and in our times of progress,” he said.
As of now, officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while an investigation into the incident is being conducted. Authorities have also said that they plan to release images from the body cameras, along with video and audio footage from a law enforcement helicopter that was circling overhead and giving directions.