The shooting death of Stephon Clark on Sunday in his own backyard has erupted in public outrage and massive protests. Initially, police thought that Clark was holding a gun or a toolbar when they approached him. Later, they announced he was only carrying a cell phone.
"The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them," the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement. "Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times. The involved officers held their position for approximately five minutes, until additional officers arrived. Officers approached the suspect, handcuffed him and began life saving efforts."
On Wednesday, the Sacramento Police Department released multiple pieces of footage of the fatal shooting of Clark, 22. Police released footage from two body cams and helicopter footage in addition to the audio of a 911 call and dispatch. In the 911 call, a man calls to complain that someone is breaking car windows in the area. The footage reveals that cops at the scene muted their body cams after the fatal shooting.
Right before shots are fired, one of the bodycam videos shows the frantic screams of the police: “Show me your hands! Gun! [...] Show me your hands! Gun, gun, gun!”
“You alright, you hit?” one officer asks.
“Yeah, I’m good.”
“He was still pointing when I saw again. […] You alright, dude?”
“Yeah, I’m alright. I don’t think I’m hit or anything.”
Then, one officer says, “Hey, mute.”
The body cams then become muted.
“There are a variety of reasons why officers have the opportunity to mute their body-worn cameras,” Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler told the Sacramento Bee.
None of the police officers have been identified.