Sacramento braces for more protests over death of Stephon Clark

Protests in Sacramento are expected to continue Saturday after hundreds filled the streets the previous night in response to the March 18 police shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man.

After his death, the city has faced more than a week of turmoil, as people take to the streets, at times blocking intersections and bringing traffic to a standstill.

On Friday evening, a march began at City Hall and continued through downtown Sacramento, according to the Associated Press. The rally, led by Black Lives Matter leaders remained largely peaceful as they demanded the arrest of the two officers who shot and killed Clark.

Meanwhile, the city's investigation into Clark's death continues.

RELATED: Sacramento mourns after fatal shooting of Stephon Clark

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The protests have been buoyed by the support of Black Lives Matters, national figures like National Action Network founder and president Rev. Al Sharpton, who is also an MSNBC host, and local NBA basketball teams. The Sacramento Kings gained national attention for taking part in the demonstrations.

At a community event in support of black youth on Friday, Kings shooting guard Garrett Temple said Clark "could have been any of us," NBC Bay Area reported.

Former players DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes offered to pay for Clark's funeral, and Barnes served as a pallbearer at the Thursday funeral. He also organized a march before the Kings' Saturday game against the Golden State Warriors.

Both teams have given their players permission to participate in Saturday's demonstration.

NBC Bay Area reported that the protests have been costly for the already struggling Kings. Because demonstrators blocked the entrances to Golden 1 Center, only 2,400 fans were able to attend on March 22 game against the Atlanta Hawks and 4,000 made it to the March 27 game against the Boston Celtics.

The team typically averages crowds of 17,500 this season, which means a loss of more than $1 million in ticket refunds by some estimates. In response, the Kings announced that they would bolster security and close the plaza surrounding the stadium to those who do not have tickets.

The Kings, however, have chosen to support the demonstrations and said that they have partnered with Black Lives Matter and the Build. Black. organization to invest in Sacramento's black youth and create an education fund for Clark's children.

Clark, 22, was shot eight times by two officers and nearly all of the bullets hit him from behind, according to the results of a private autopsy report released on Friday.

IMAGE: Stephon Clark
IMAGE: Stephon Clark

Dr. Bennet Omalu, who conducted the autopsy on Tuesday at the request of Clark's family, said at a press conference on Friday that the bullets struck Clark seven times from behind on his right side and once from the front. His death "took anywhere from three to 10 minutes."

Video from a law enforcement helicopter showed Clark running from police. He is then seen attempting to crawl away once he is shot.

Police said that two Sacramento officers fired a total of 20 shots at Clark on March 18 after receiving a 911 call that a man had smashed car windows. Officers believed Clark to be the suspect and chased him to his grandmother's backyard. In body camera footage released March 21, the two unidentified officers can be heard yelling at Clark to stop and surrender. They then yell, "Gun! Gun! Gun!" and open fire.

Only Clark's cellphone was found on his body.

According to the autopsy, Clark died due to a combination of blood loss, acute respiratory arrest and hypoxia, meaning that not enough oxygen reached his brain.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told NBC News last week that the officers believed they were in danger and reacted accordingly.

"The officers responded to a call," Hahn said, "and ultimately were able to see the subject they believed was responsible for the breaking into the cars that they were there for. They felt their lives were in danger and they fired."

But Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that the city would have to investigate the incident.

"We have an obligation to everyone involved, including the family of Stephon Clark, to wait for the full findings and results from the official autopsy and investigation," Steinberg said in a statement. "As the Mayor of our city, I assure the community and the public that we will aggressively seek answers to all the questions the community is rightfully asking."