photo credit: mirzamlk // Shutterstock
Stephon Clark, 22, was fatally shot and killed by Sacramento police in his own backyard after his cell phone was mistaken for a weapon.
Police were responding to a report of someone breaking into cars nearby. The suspect was described as a 6’1 man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants, hiding in a backyard. According to the NY Daily News, the departments helicopter saw Clark in his backyard and told deputies that he had shattered a window with a tool bar.
When police arrived to the scene, they approached Clark, believing he was armed with a gun, but it was actually his cell phone.
“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times,” the police department said in a release. Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cell phone was the only object found at the scene. Clark’s grandmother was home at the time and heard the shots being fired. She nor her husband heard any police warnings or commands before hearing the gunfire. The officers involved were wearing body cameras and that video is expected to be released possibly in the next 48 hours, along with the audio from the helicopter.
Both officers have been given a paid administrative leave.
Written by Clarke Jones