The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and former adviser to President Barack Obama, criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for his silence following the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark this month.
"He has not said anything about this," Sharpton said. "Trump should speak out, and there should be policy."
Sharpton, an MSNBC talk-show host, spoke with The Sacramento Bee before Clark's funeral Thursday in south Sacramento.
Clark died March 18 when two Sacramento police officers fired on him in the backyard of his grandparents' home. Officers had responded to the Meadowview neighborhood to check out a neighbor's report that someone was breaking car windows.
A police helicopter pilot spotted Clark jumping over a backyard fence, and officers on foot pursued him. They apparently believed the cellphone Clark was holding was a gun.
Sharpton came to Sacramento to give the eulogy for Clark's funeral service at the Bayside of South Sacramento Church, where Clark's grandmother attends services.
"We will never let you forget the name of Stephon Clark until we get justice," Sharpton told attendees.
Sharpton rebuked the president a day after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Clark shooting was a "terrible incident" but one that local police should handle.
"It's not a local matter," Sharpton said in response. He pointed to this week's decision by Louisiana officials not to charge two Baton Rouge officers in the fatal 2016 shooting of Alton Sterling as an example of local authorities' unwillingness to hold police accountable.
Sharpton said he wants an independent federal prosecutor to investigate police shootings across the nation and "clear federal laws about police use of force that supersede all these state laws."
Local community members should ask candidates this election year about where they stand on police shootings, he said.
Sharpton said he spoke with Clark's mother the day after her son was killed and watched the body-camera videos that police released three days later.
"We came to support the local activists that have been dealing with these issues for a long time," he said.
Asked about protesters blocking Golden 1 Center and preventing thousands of fans from attending two Sacramento Kings games in the past week, he said, "People express their protests in different ways."
"The only violence that has happened in the Stephon Clark situation has been the police shooting," Sharpton said.
There have been minor scuffles during the protests and two arrests. One man was arrested for breaking a bus window, another for assaulting an officer.
In an MSNBC appearance Thursday morning, Sharpton wondered why officers felt they had to corner and shoot Clark when a helicopter was tracking his movements overhead.
Some law enforcement officials have said critics often aren't in a position to question decisions made by officers to shoot a suspect.
"I was involved in numerous officer-involved shootings, and they’re very intense situations," said Sacramento police Sgt. Vance Chandler, a department spokesman and 12-year veteran of the SWAT team. "Each one is unique. You don’t have time to think or react to information."
Speaking to The Bee, Sharpton questioned the officers' muting of their body-camera microphones in the minutes after the shooting. He also said that it remains unknown if Clark was the person who'd allegedly been breaking car windows.
Sacramento police Chief Daniel Hahn said last week he believed Clark's actions prompted the neighbor's call, though he said "you can't say factually it was him yet."
"That's why we have the courts," Sharpton said. "This young man has two children. He has a family."
He noted that one of the officers who fired his gun at Clark was said to be black.
"This is not about white and black," Sharpton said. "This is about right and wrong."