Sequita Thompson, the grandmother of the recently slain Stephon Clark, could be seen attempting to hold back tears in a powerful speech about the death of her beloved family member. Thompson's public statements on the matter, tinged with profound sadness, recalled the horror she faced as she came to grips with the reality of her grandson's death. Thompson's sadness turned to anger as she demanded accountability.
Clark, a 22-year-old Sacramento, California, resident, was shot to death in his grandparents' backyard by police, who fired 20 rounds into his body. Clark was unarmed at the time; police later claimed they thought an iPhone he was holding was a firearm, according to The Washington Post. Now, Clark's grandmother is calling for justice for her grandson as national outrage over the incident continues to grow.
In the public address made on March 26, Sequita Thompson decried the actions of the police.
“They didn’t have to kill him like that,” she said, according to The Huffington Post. “They didn’t have to shoot him this many times. Why didn’t you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a Taser. Why? Why? Y’all didn’t have to do that. [...] Please give us justice.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg also spoke.
“It’s wrong because a 22-year-old man should not die in that way,” said Steinberg.
Meanwhile, proffesional athletes in the NBA have been vocal in their support of Clark's family. On March 25, The Sacramento Kings and their opponents, The Boston Celtics, took to the courts in t-shirts that memorialized the slain father of two. Public statements made during the games addressed the killing.
“These tragedies have to stop. [...] There must be accountability. [...] We will not stick to sports. [...] We will not shut up and dribble," the players said in a public service announcement, which was played over the arena's sound system during a time-out, according to The Root.
Celtics player Terry Rozier reflected on the moment.
“You know there’s just a lot of emotions with that,” Rozier said, according to USA Today. “Sacramento did a nice tribute video where we got together yesterday and stuff like that. It’s tragic, what’s going on, and we just try to voice our opinion and just try to help out and make a voice as much as we can."
Former Sacramento Kings player DeMarcus Cousins has offered to pay Clark's funeral expenses, according to The Root.
Before that, on March 22, protests and demonstrations calling for justice for Clark had delayed a Sacramentos Kings game.
Clark's death has drawn considerable scrutiny after police bodycam footage was revealed to have been muted following the shooting.
Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler told the Sacramento Bee, "There are a variety of reasons why officers have the opportunity to mute their body-worn cameras.”
[Photo: Screenshot via Huffington Post]