Matt Barnes was among the 100 or so people who attended a peaceful Sacramento demonstration in honor of Stephon Clark on Saturday. (March 31) While holding one of Clark’s sons, the former Sacramento King spoke about being a father to two boys, similar to Clark and fearing for their lives. The 38-year-old also announced he’s launching a scholarship fund for the Clark boys to ensure they go to college.
“I have two 9-year-old boys, just like this and I fear for them. I fear for the streets and now I’ve got to fear for the cops. How do we explain to our kids that because of the color of your skin people aren’t going to like you? That’s not fair, but that’s what we have to explain to our kids every day,” the former small power forward said.
“So like what we’ve been talking about today, we didn’t want to lose sight of why we’re here. Thank you to everybody who came out and kept it peaceful. We’re going to get some accountability for the stuff that continues to go on and we’re doing it for the kids right here. I’m in the process of starting a Clark Boy scholarship fund to make sure these boys go to college. Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a Sacramento problem this is a nation wide problem.”
The March 18th killing of Clark sent ripple effects throughout the Sacramento community, and America and rejuvenated conversation around police violence against African-Americans. According to an independent autopsy requested by Clark’s family, of the 20 shots that riddled Clark’s body, eight of them were in his back. Officers reportedly were responding to a series of break ins and thought he had a gun, when it was later discovered the 22-year-old was only carrying his cell phone. Clark’s brother Ste’vante Clark along with other demonstrators interrupted a city council meeting last week also demanding justice.
While still speaking to the crowd, Barnes said he first heard about Clark’s death through one of his sons who then asked if police were “bad.” Emotional, Barnes admitted his first inclination was to tell his son they are, but quickly corrected himself.
“I had to pause for a second because the emotion of me wanted to say yes, but at the same time cops aren’t bad, one cop doesn’t make every one bad,” Barnes said. “But one black man doesn’t make everybody guilty. It’s more than color. It comes down to wrong and right.”