Stephon Clark’s grandmother recalls hearing hail of gunfire


The outraged family of Stephon Clark will pay for a private autopsy of the unarmed black man who was shot dead by police as he held only a cell phone in his grandmother's California back yard last week.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump announced the independent autopsy Monday, saying Clark's family wants answers on exactly how the 22-year-old father of two died in a hail of 20 bullets fired by Sacramento Police.

"They didn't have to kill him like that. They didn't have to shoot him," Clark's grandmother Sequita Thompson said through sobs at a morning press conference in the state capital with Crump.

She described hearing the "boom, boom, boom, boom" of the police gunshots as she sat at her computer shortly after 9 p.m. on March 18.

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Fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark
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Fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark

 Stephon Clark, 22, was killed in a fatal officer involved shooting in California in March 2018.

(Photo: GoFundMe)

Police helicopter and body camera footage was released of the shooting.


(Photo: Sacramento Police Dept.)

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 26: Sequita Thompson, (L) grandmother of Stephon Clark who was shot and killed by Sacramento police, cries as she speaks during a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump (R) on March 26, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers, have hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the Clark family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento police department. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Police helicopter and body camera footage was released of the shooting.

(Photo: Sacramento Police Dept.)
Candles light a sidewalk memorial to Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
The house where police shooting victim Stephon Clark was slain is seen in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 26: A woman cries as civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaks during a news conference at Sacramento City Hall on March 26, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers, has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the Clark family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento police department. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A sign is seen painted on the window of a car during a protest over the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Demonstrators gather to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 26: Tanya Faison (L) with Black Lives Matter of Sacramento yells at a man who had confronted her before the start of a news conference with Civil rights attorney Ben Crump at Sacramento City Hall on March 26, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers, have hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the Clark family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento police department. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 26: Sequita Thompson, (C) grandmother of Stephon Clark who was shot and killed by Sacramento police, cries during a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump on March 26, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers, have hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the Clark family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento police department. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Deonnah Conway holds candles during a protest over the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Tami Collins, shows a placard protesting the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark by Sacramento police, during a demonstration in Sacramento, California, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Sharon Bernstein
The house where police shooting victim Stephon Clark was slain is seen in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Jayden Sherman (R) and David Massey hold candles during a vigil to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; A young demonstrator holds a photo of Stephon Clark to the glass of the doors to Golden 1 Center as protestors block the entrance to the arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Demonstrators gather to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Demonstrators hold candles during a vigil to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Demonstrators hold candles during a vigil to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California, U.S. March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
In Sacramento, police shot at an unarmed black man 20 times, killing him, when he turned out to be holding only a c… https://t.co/HTOLq5BVwP
On Sunday night, Sacramento Police Officers shot and killed Stephon Clark after firing 20 rounds while he was unarm… https://t.co/EynGnsuxrx
Father of two, Stephon Clark, was fatally shot in his backyard by Sacramento police on Sunday night. Police thought… https://t.co/HlfBchf2R2
#StephonClark was fatally shot by Sacramento police in his own backyard, carrying a cell phone that was mistaken fo… https://t.co/d2dYgNRQkX
Unarmed African American man fatally shot by Sacramento Police. He had a cell phone, they shot at him 20 times:… https://t.co/KfR61x8rhm
20 times. After first saying #StephonClark had a gun, then changing it to a crowbar, then admitting he just had a… https://t.co/xu4K0if3jv
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Thompson said she dropped to the floor in terror and crawled over to a 7-year-old grandchild who was sleeping on a nearby couch.

"My great-grandbabies don't have their daddy," she wailed Monday, barely able to stand.

"Why didn't you shoot him in the arm? Shoot him in the legs? Send the dogs? Send the Taser?" she asked, addressing the two unidentified officers who unloaded their weapons in her yard and are now on paid administrative leave.

"I just want justice for my grandson," she cried. "I want justice for Stephon Clark. Please give us justice."

 

The officers who fired on Clark initially claimed he advanced toward them in the dark holding an object in his hands they believed to be a gun.

No firearm was recovered from the scene. Clark only had his cell phone, police confirmed.

The officers were responding to a 911 call about a man allegedly breaking into cars and breaking a window of a South Sacramento home.

A sheriff's helicopter directed them to Clark's location, where they confronted him and shouted at him to stop.

Authorities released the helicopter and body camera footage last week as they acknowledged the "seriousness" of the situation and vowed an investigation.

Clark's death touched off days of demonstrations in Sacramento, with protesters blocking traffic on Interstate 5 in both directions on Thursday and stopping spectators from entering Golden 1 Arena for a Sacramento Kings game.

On Sunday, Kings players wore T-shirts that said, "Accountability. We are one" on the front and "#StephonClark" on the back.

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Protesters shut down Sacramento Kings game
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Protesters shut down Sacramento Kings game
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; A City of Sacramento police officer wearing a body camera while standing on the court during a timeout during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center during a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center during a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center during a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center during a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; A young demonstrator holds a photo of Stephon Clark to the glass of the doors to Golden 1 Center as protestors block the entrance to the arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive stands at the entrance as protestors surround the doors to Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Protestors surround the entrance to Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Black Lives Matters demonstrators march in downtown Sacramento before a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Black Lives Matters demonstrators march in downtown Sacramento before a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Black Lives Matters demonstrators block the freeway near Golden 1 Center before a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Black Lives Matters demonstrators block the freeway near Golden 1 Center before a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Black Lives Matters demonstrators march outside Golden 1 Center before a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive addresses the fans after the game at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive addresses the fans after the game at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive with guard Vince Carter (15) after the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Salena Manni, the mother of Mr. Clark's two kids, ages 1 and 3, told The Sacramento Bee their family is devastated.

"They're asking, 'Where's Daddy, where's Daddy?" Manni, said, according to the newspaper. "He was part of our family. He was our rock."

Crump previously represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

 

"He did not deserve to die. He did not deserve to die," a woman attending the press conference Monday said to another attendee who claimed Clark made a "bad" decision when he moved to the back of his grandmother's yard when police first yelled at him.

"There's no justification," the woman told the man who declined to give his name.

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