Stephon Clark march in Downtown Sacramento disrupts traffic
A protest in front of the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office late Wednesday afternoon morphed into a march that blocked traffic in downtown Sacramento during the peak of the evening commute.
From the DA's office at 9th and G streets, demonstrators marched down I Street to 5th Street. Police closed the entrance to Interstate 5 around 5 p.m., fearing protesters might shut down the freeway, as they had done Thursday.
Instead, the protesters stopped traffic on I and J streets, intermittently, for the next hour or more.
There were tense moments as drivers leaving work tried to get by and protesters blocked them. Two buses were caught in the traffic jam.
The demonstrators chanted "Shut it down!" and "Stephon Clark!" in protest of the police killing of Clark, a 22-year-old black man, in south Sacramento on March 18.
Two officers shot Clark dead in his grandparents' backyard. He was holding only a cellphone. Officers thought he was a burglary suspect with a gun.
The killing led to a week of noisy demonstrations on freeways and city streets and at the entrances to Golden 1 Center prior to two Kings games on Thursday and Tuesday. Thousands of ticket holders were shut out of the arena on both occasions.
Earlier Wednesday, Clark's body lay in an open casket at the Bayside of South Sacramento church at 6528 44th Street, where Clark's funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and minister, is expected to deliver the eulogy.
Clark's family, friends and community members came to Wednesday's somber viewing, some carrying flowers.
Sandra Abdul Umar, of Sacramento, said she wanted to pay her respects to Clark's family. Though she didn't know Clark, she said his story was one that "hit home" as a mother of three sons about Clark's age.
Cynthia Brown, 62, a Sacramento woman and family friend, said the coming hours would be difficult for the Clark family as they prepared to bury Stephon Clark's body.
She was critical of the police officers' actions in the March 18 shooting. Officers responded to the Meadowview neighborhood after a neighbor reported someone breaking car windows.
"These cars, these broken windows, they can be repaired. Get them fixed. But his life can never come back," Brown said.