Update: Footage has been released of the moment officers fatally shot Stephon Clark after mistaking his phone for a gun.
Two Sacramento police officers have been placed on administrative duty for shooting an unarmed African American man after mistaking his cellphone for a weapon. According to the Sacramento Bee, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was killed after police fired 20 times at him while he was in the backyard of the home he shared with his siblings and grandparents.
According to Sacramento police, officers in the area were responding to a call of an individual breaking multiple car windows on Sunday, March 18. The call described the suspect as a thin, 6-foot-1 black man wearing dark pants and a black hoodie hiding in a backyard.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies in a helicopter circling the area spotted a man in a surrounding backyard and told police on the ground that the man had just smashed a window with a “tool bar.” The helicopter deputies gave ground police Clark’s location.
According to police, the officers opened fire after Clark “extended” a “object” at them as they approached him. “The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them.” Sacramento police department said in a statement. “Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times,”
After initially stating Sunday that Clark was carrying the “tool bar,” on Monday police clarified that he was holding a cellphone.