A video of Stephon Clark’s brother Stevante waving a thick stack of dollar bills around an electronics store made waves across the internet this week. But there's more than meets the eye, he says.
The video of Stevante Clark, 25, holding the bills to his ear like a phone and peeling them off at the cash register garnered more than 200,000 views on WorldStar HipHop in three days. The video appears to come from an overhead security camera, but it is unclear who provided the clip to the website.
The Clark family raised more than $83,000 through a now-closed GoFundMe page after Stephon’s March 18 shooting by two Sacramento Police Department officers. WorldStar’s post claimed Stevante had flashed family donation money inside the store - a claim he refuted.
“They said I spent $80,000 on bull----, which I never did,” Stevante told a Bee reporter at a rally on Tuesday.
Instead, he said, the $100 bills in the video were fake tender with a skeleton superimposed over Benjamin Franklin’s face and an identical (916) phone number on each instead of a serial number. On the back side, “In Art We Trust” rests over a stately building with the words “Hustle Hall” at the bottom.
The bills were marketing material for Sacramento clothing company America Hustle, Stevante said. The company's website is listed on the back, and Stevante later posted an Instagram video chastising those who thought the bills were legitimate.
“Anybody talk about me throwing money and (expletive), it’s fake money you idiots. It’s not real,” he said in the video. “But that’s all y’all care about, that’s the point.”
Police shot Stephon Clark eight times on March 18 after chasing him through south Sacramento's Meadowview neighborhood on suspicion of vandalism. The two officers, Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet, believed he was armed with a gun. The object in Clark's hand was later determined to be a cellphone.
As protests in Clark's name sprouted in Sacramento and across the U.S., Stevante became the voice of his brother's movement through actions such as commandeering a city council meeting and embracing Al Sharpton as the celebrity preacher eulogized Stephon.
More than 100 reddit users weighed in on a r/sacramento subreddit post linking to WorldStar's video before comments were locked. Some criticized his actions in the video and over the past few weeks, while others urged empathy for someone who has said he has mental health issues.
Nashelly Chavez contributed to this story.
Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, @BenjyEgel