Photo Gallery Emotions run high at funeral for man shot by police

Emotions run high at funeral for man shot by police

Rev. Al Sharpton, left, hugs Stevante Clark while speaking during the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018.

Rev. Al Sharpton, left, speaks to Stevante Clark during the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Stephon Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

Stevante Clark, center, speaks during the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

Rev. Al Sharpton, center right, speaks to Stevante Clark, arm raised. during the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Stephon Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

A young man sits on a curb as he waits to enter the Bayside of South Sacramento Church for the funeral of Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

A mourner holds up a photo of police shooting victim Stephon Clark during the funeral services for Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

Mourners wait in line to enter the Bayside of South Sacramento Church for the funeral of Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

A long line of mourners wait in line to enter the Bayside of South Sacramento Church for the funeral of Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, left, walks with Stevante Clark during the funeral services for police shooting victim, Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

 

Carolyn Hunter wears a t-shirt with the photo of police shooting victim Stephon Clark as she waits in line to enter the Bayside of South Sacramento Church for the funeral of Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018.

 

Rev. Al Sharpton talks to the media after giving the eulogy at the funeral of police shooting victim, Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018. At left is attorney Benjamin Crump who represents Clark’s family.

 

Mourners comfort each other at the grave sight of police shooting victim, Stephon Clark after his funeral, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Clark who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018

 

Stevante Clark, the brother, police shooting victim, Stephon Clark, shakes hands with a young boy after his brother’s funeral, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Stephon Clark who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018.

 

Demonstrators banners during a protest in Compton, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Demonstrators and family members of people killed by police throughout California gathered Thursday to denounce the death of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by Sacramento police.

 

Former NBA basketball player Matt Barnes arrives at the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018.

 

Stevante Clark, center with sunglasses, reacts as he stands with Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and family during the funeral services for police shooting victim Stephon Clark at Bayside Of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18, 2018

 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, left, talks with Stevante Clark during the funeral services for police shooting victim, Stephon Clark at Bayside of South Sacramento Church in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2018. Clark, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by Sacramento Police Officers, Sunday, March 18.

A standing-room-only crowd packed into a church Thursday to celebrate the life of a 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by Sacramento police, prompting angry protests in California’s capital city and a resolve to force changes in police departments around the country.

The musical and scriptural celebration of Stephon Clark’s life was interrupted by his emotional brother Stevante, who hugged and kissed the casket, led the crowd in chanting his brother’s name, pounded his chest and shouted. Others on the stage attempted to calm him, with limited success.

The Rev. Al Sharpton hugged and consoled him and told the crowd not to judge how families grieve.

“This brother could be any one of us, so let them express and grieve,” Sharpton said as he delivered the eulogy with Stevante Clark clutching him around the neck. “We are proud of them for standing up for justice.”

Clark was killed March 18 by two Sacramento police officers responding to a report of someone breaking car windows. Video of the nighttime incident released by police shows a man later identified as Clark running into the backyard of his grandparent’s home where police fired 20 rounds at him after screaming “gun, gun, gun.”

It turned out Clark was holding a cellphone.

About 500 people attended the funeral, where friends and family shared memories of Stephon Clark’s “keen dancing ability,” sense of humor and smarts, and his desire to be a good father to his two young sons. Speakers frequently started call-and-response chants of “I am … Stephon Clark.”

Clark’s name has been a rallying cry at protests and calls for police reform in California and beyond. Families of people killed by police marched Thursday in Compton, calling for more transparency in use-of-force investigations, and the night before a small group of protesters gathered in New York City.

In Sacramento, Sharpton and others chastised President Donald Trump for failing to comment on police shootings of young black men. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the Clark shooting and demurred, referring to it as a local issue.

“That is a systemic problem, not a local problem,” said Zaid Shakir, a prominent California imam and former spiritual adviser to Muhammad Ali. “That’s an American problem, a uniquely American problem.”

Omar Suleiman, another imam who spoke, warned of attempts by the press to attack Clark’s character as a way to suggest he’s not “worth fighting for.”

“The same media that humanizes white terrorists vilifies black victims,” he said.

The near daily protests in downtown Sacramento have remained largely peaceful, with only a few instances of physical confrontations between protesters and police or other civilians. At the funeral, Sharpton and others praised demonstrators for their restraint and urged them to follow the lead of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr. and his advocacy of nonviolent protest.

Following the funeral, police dramatically increased security outside the downtown NBA arena where protesters have twice blocked thousands of fans from entering for Sacramento Kings’ games. Metal detectors and barricades were set up outside the Golden 1 Center in advance of Thursday night’s game, and fencing blocked off some stairs to an outdoor plaza surrounding the arena.

The Kings and their owner have been supportive of the Clark family.

The team announced plans to set up an education fund for Stephon Clark’s children and a partnership with Black Lives Matter Sacramento to bring “transformational change” to the city’s black communities. Former Kings player Matt Barnes attended the funeral and helped pay for it.

The arena is the focal point of a downtown revitalization effort. The area has struggled economically and has a large homeless population.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he’s committed to working with Stevante Clark to bring more resources to his South Sacramento community.

The two spoke at the funeral, where Stevante Clark apologized for previously disrupting a City Council meeting by jumping on a desk, dancing and shouting his brother’s name at Steinberg.

“We’re going to forgive the mayor, amen,” Clark said at the funeral. “Everybody say they love the mayor.”

Shernita Crosby, Stephon Clark’s aunt, has said the family isn’t “mad at all the law enforcement.”

“We’re not trying to start a riot,” she said. “What we want the world to know is that we got to stop this because black lives matter.”

Previous articleUkraine cooperation key for regional security’
Next articleWhite House decries Russia expelling US envoys