Protests have broken out again in the capital of the US state of California after an autopsy contradicted police accounts of the shooting of a black man. Another larger rally is planned for Saturday.
Some 200 demonstrators took to the streets of the US city of Sacramento on Friday evening after an autopsy showed that police had fatally shot an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, in the back.
The results of the independent examination went against police statements that Clark had been approaching them when he was killed.
The protesters gathered first at city hall before marching into the old part of the Californian capital, known for its bars and restaurants. Although the four-hour protest caused some disruption and blocked traffic, it remained largely peaceful.
Series of deaths
Clark’s death was the latest in a series of fatal police shootings of black men that have led to protests across the United States and accusations that the American justice system is biased against the country’s black community.
The 22-year-old father of two was shot dead in his grandparents’ yard on March 18 by police responding to a report that someone was breaking windows. Police initially said he was walking toward officers in a menacing way with an object in his hands — later found to be a cellphone — when he was killed.
However, details from an autopsy released on Friday showed that Clark was hit six times in the back, once in the side and once in the leg.
A lawyer for Clark’s family, Benjamin Crump said: “This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The fact that Clark took three to 10 minutes to die, with police waiting some five minutes to render aid, has further fueled anger and grief at his death.
The killing had already sparked numerous peaceful protests in the past two weeks, and another is planned for Saturday afternoon, this time organized by former NBA player Matt Barnes.
The rally is planned to take place just hours before a major basketball game in a downtown arena will draw thousands of fans.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday that the shooting was a “local matter.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said state justice officials will oversee the investigation and look into Sacramento police procedures and practices.
tj/rc (Reuters, AP)