Twenty-Two Year Old Stephon Clark Dies after Police Shooting


Meredith Bushman, Staff Writer

Father. Son. Nephew. Grandson.


These words described Stephon Clark to his family.


But to Sacramento Police Officers, Clark was one thing- black.


Clark was shot at twenty times, eight of the shots becoming fatal, in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18th. The shots were predominantly in his back, as he attempted to run from the police.


What prompted the shooting? A presumption.


On the night of March 18th, a 911 call was made to the Sacramento police regarding someone breaking into cars on the street. A helicopter was sent to the scene to investigate which was when Clark was determined to be the suspect. It was assumed that he was armed.


The two responding officers at the scene believed that Clark was armed with a gun and claimed they ‘feared for their lives’, and proceeded to fire ten shots each at Clark.


The alleged gun was a cellphone.


Initial statements made by the police officers (whose names have yet to be publicly released) claimed that they started shooting at Clark after he faced them, advanced towards the officers with his arms extended, while holding something in his hand. However, that statement has since been contradicted by an independent autopsy that determined the shots most likely were fired while Clark had his back to the officers, as well as after he was already on the ground.


In addition, Clark was only directed to show his hands, not raise them, which is what he could have been attempting to do when the officers decided to start firing.


Stephon Clark is yet another name to be added to the ongoing list of victims of police brutality. But his abrupt death has yielded no remarks from our president and has been deemed a ‘local issue’ that the federal government will not weigh in on.


Yet by comparison when a Kathryn Steinle, a young, white woman, was allegedly shot by an undocumented immigrant in 2015, Trump had no problem addressing the matter on Twitter. When the alleged shooter was acquitted of murder charges this past December, Trump tweeted that the verdict was disgraceful, as well as promoting the construction of a border wall.


The only difference in the cases of Steinle and Clark is the fact that Steinle was white and shot by an undocumented immigrant, and Clark was black and shot by police officers. Both had their lives unfairly ended, but only one warranted anger and disappointment from our president.


This begs the question, when will it be a federal issue? When will our government deem their action a necessity? When will these tragedies be seen as what they really are: racial injustice?


How many more have to die before enough is enough?