An emotional plea from the grandmother of Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed by Sacramento police on March 18th was made yesterday in the lobby of Sacramento City Hall.
"Justice. I want justice for my baby," a tearful Sequita Thompson begged in front of dozens of supporters. "I want justice for Stephon Clark. Please give us justice."
Thompson was shot by Sacramento police in his grandparents' backyard on March 18th after officers were responding to a call about a person breaking car windows at night. A Sacramento County sheriff's helicopter led officers to Clark, who began to run from police. The responding officers say they believed Clark was armed and fired 10 rounds apiece at him.
Investigators later discovered that he was holding a cellphone and was unarmed at the time.
Thompson begged police to explain why they decided to respond with lethal force when there were other non-lethal options available
"Why didn't you shoot him in the arm? Shoot him in the leg? Send the dogs? Send the taser? Why? Why? You all didn't have to do that," Thompson said.
The fatal shooting is still under investigation, but questions have arisen about the department's policies on use of force and why officers felt the need to mute their body cameras shortly after Thompson was shot dead.
Police have defended the shooting, saying the officers were worried about their safety. The pair have been put on administrative leave while the investigation into the shooting is conducted.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the city needs to look at the protocol for de-escalating conflict.
"We must say loud and clear that what happened to Stephon Clark was plain wrong," Steinberg said. "It's wrong, because a 22-year-old man should not die in that way."