Renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump has been retained by the family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed man who was fatally shot by police 20 times.
In a statement to VIBE Friday (Mar. 23), Crump has vowed to keep the Sacramento Police Department accountable for Clark's death. The father of three was killed Sunday (Mar. 19) by two officers while trying to enter his grandmother's home. Officers assumed he had a gun or a crowbar, but was only found with a phone at the scene.
“The shooting death of Stephon Clark is an all-too-common tragedy. It is yet another troubling example of a young, unarmed black man being shot by police under highly questionable circumstances," he said. "From what we have seen so far, Sacramento law enforcement’s actions – both before and after the shooting – have raised more questions than provided answers. All of us who are committed to social justice are demanding full transparency and answers as to how these tragic events unfolded.”
Crump has represented a number of prolific cases like the family of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. His most recent court case centered around musician Corey Jones, who was killed by plainclothes officer while waiting for a tow truck in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Police claimed they were responding to reports about a man breaking into vehicles when they approached Clark. Video of the incident was released this week, showing the officers firing long after Clark appeared to surrender. Early reports claimed Clark was breaking into homes but Clark's cousin Sonia Lewis told reporters it was normal for relatives to enter the home through the backyard. “[His] doorbell has not worked for 20 years,” Lewis said. “Often the younger kids will go around back and knock on ‘Tommy T’s’ window to say, ‘Hey, somebody push the garage remote so that we can get in.’”
Protests took place near California's state capitol Thursday night (Mar. 22), causing a delay at the Sacramento Kings NBA game. Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd by sending condolences to the Clark's family and saluting protesters for speaking out.
“It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand here before you, old, young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment,” Ranadivé said.“We recognize that it is not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community. We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”