Writing these articles never gets easier. In fact, sometimes I think it would be better to just have a template:
"__ year old black man named _____________ from __________, ________ was shot and killed last night. Police claim he was armed with a ____________ and they were in fear for their lives. At this time, the police department will not release names of the officers and no charges will be pursued against the officers involved"
Because we know that is how it ends 99% of the time.
This time, the case is just as horrific as all of the others. On March 18th, a 22 year old black man and father of 2, was just hanging out in the backyard of his grandmother's house, holding his cell phone in his hand. Cops were responding to a call about cars in the neighborhood being vandalized and broken into.
The shooting was captured on body cameras and on video from a police helicopter. The footage shows Clark running to the backyard of his grandmother's house where he was shot at 20 times by police. Why? He wasn't running AT the police. He was running AWAY. And no one saw a weapon or even knew if he was the person they were looking for. But being black and running from police is enough reason to shoot, I guess.
The Washington Post reports that an independent autopsy requested by the family's attorneys showed that Stephon Clark was shot eight times, with most of the bullets hitting him in the back. The autopsy, conducted by Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist, also shows that he was struck in the neck, back and thigh, breaking his bones and puncturing his lung. The forensic pathologist reported that “his death wasn’t instantaneous...Death took about three to 10 minutes.”
Further, Omalu said that six of the eight shots hit Clark in the back, while a seventh bullet hit him “slightly to the side of his body, but to the back of the side.” Omalu said that any of the seven bullets could have been fatal on their own.
Horrific. Absolutely horrific.
Sacramento police declined to comment, stating that it “would be inappropriate” since they were waiting for their coroner's report to be released and during the course of an ongoing investigation. Further, they said: “we acknowledge the importance of this case to all in our community and we are committed to a thorough and comprehensive investigation."
Stephon Clark is one of at least 269 people fatally shot by police so far this year, according to tracking done by The Washington Post. This is also the sixth fatal shooting by Sacramento Police since January 2015. Of those six fatal shootings, five were of black men.
If you are not able to differentiate between a cell phone/toy gun/box of cigarettes/etc and a GUN, you should probably not be a police officer. And if you feel that unloading 20 bullets at someone is an appropriate usage of force, you should not be a police officer. Better training may help, but at the end of the day it is clear that some people do not deserve the honor of being police officers. They are scared of everything and everyone. Let's not arm them with weapons of murder.