Sacramento Police have released the first body camera footage from Sunday night’s fatal shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was killed after police mistook a cell phone in his hand for a gun. Sacramento police shot Clark dead Sunday night shortly after chasing him to the backyard of his grandparents’ home in south Sacramento, video released Wednesday by the department shows.
Around the 7:30 minute mark, the video shows officers chasing Clark into the backyard yelling at him to “show me your hands.” Within seconds, an officer screams “gun, gun, gun,” before firing a rapid barrage of shots.
Warning: this video may contain graphic images and/or profane language.
After shooting close to 20 shots at Clark, the officers continue shouting for Clark to show his hands. While Clark is lying on the ground, one officer tells the other that he is doing a “tactical reload” in case more force is needed.
“He’s still down, he’s not moving. We can’t see the gun,” the officer is heard saying.
Officers wait about six minutes after the shooting before an officer can be heard telling another officer, “hey mute.” Sound then cuts out as officers apparently turn off their microphones, but the video continues, showing officers talking to each other and a civilian who was on scene.
The Sacramento Police Department released a media statement describing the incident, and made public three videos and three audio files related to the incident.
“The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) recognizes the significance of this incident and the impact it has on our community,” the statement says. “We are committed to providing timely information and communicating openly with our community.”
The videos include body camera footage from the two officers involved in the shooting, each of whom fired 10 shots at Clark. The officers have not yet been identified, but both officers involved with the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave.
Another video released by the police department shows aerial footage from a helicopter flying overhead.
The videos were released Wednesday afternoon after police met with Clark’s family members to allow them to view the materials first.
According to the Sacramento Bee, allowing family to see videos relating to an officer-related shooting before they are released to the public is part of a city policy adopted in 2016 after the fatal shooting by police of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill black man. Mann’s shooting led to major reforms in the department, including a requirement that all patrol officers wear body cameras.
Clark’s aunt, Saquoia Durham believes that the fatality could have been avoided, according to the Bee.
“As soon as they did the command, they started shooting,” Durham told the Bee. “They said ‘put your hands up, gun’ and then they just let loose on my nephew.”
“They didn’t give him a chance to put his hands up or anything, and then when they shot him down, they knew they messed up,” she said.
The sequence of events leading up to the shooting happened after police received a call that a six-foot-one man wearing a black hoodie and dark pants was breaking into vehicles, breaking car windows and was hiding in a backyard, according to the Sacramento Police Department.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s helicopter circling overhead found a man in a backyard at about 9:25 p.m. and directed police officers toward him,” authorities said. “Deputies told police that the man had picked up a “toolbar” and broke a window to a home.”
“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 Sacramento Police Department said in a news release. “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.”
He was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Bee, Clark’s girlfriend Salena Manni said the phone Clark held belonged to her. She said it was an iPhone 6 Plus in a rose gold-colored case with a black holder on the back to carry items like credit cards.
Stephon Alonzo Clark, whose legal name is Stephan Clark, was a stay-at-home father of two young sons, ages 1 and 3, according to his family.
The department also released the audio recording of the 911 call made shortly before Clark was killed, indicating that somebody was breaking car windows.
The dispatch audio was also released, which can be viewed below.
Body camera footage from other officers at the scene was also released:
The Sacramento Police Department has not identified the officers who shot Clark, but a civil rights attorney named them Friday as Officer Terrence Mercadal and Officer Jared Robinet, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Mercadal, who is black, is a native of Elk Grove, California, who graduated from Laguna Creek High School in 2003, and is a patrol officer in the neighborhood where Clark was killed, the Bee reports. He has worked in Sacramento since 2015 after previously working for the Olive Branch Police Department in Missouri. Robinet has been with the police department since 2014.
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