Family and mourners of Stephon Clark, the unarmed young black man fatally shot by Sacramento police officers in California last week, gathered at a Sacramento church for his funeral Thursday.
Famous American civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton Jr. gave a rousing speech during the service.
“They have been killing black men all across the country and we are going to start standing up. It is time to stop this madness,” Sharpton said amid ongoing wail.
“We will never forget the name of Stephon Clark until we get justice,” he added.
Sharpton also slammed the White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders for calling the fatal shooting as a “local matter” at a press briefing on Wednesday, saying that the issue has now became a national fight.
“This is not a sacramental fight anymore, this is a national fight … we all stand for Stephon Clark,” Sharpton added. “We will make Donald Trump and the whole world deal with police misconduct.”
In addition to many local faith leaders, Sheikh Omar Sulieman, a well-known religious leader among Muslim Americans also participated in the funeral and gave a meaningful message.
Clark was an African-American Muslim who joined the religion several years ago after he was introduced to it by his girlfriend.
On March 18, Clark was shot 20 times in his own backyard by Sacramento police officers.
According to the Sacramento Police Department, officers responded to a call that a man wearing a black hoodie was breaking into vehicles.
Police said the first responders spotted a man wearing a black hoodie and ordered him to stop and show his hands. However, he abruptly started running toward the back of the home where he was staying with his grandmother and his siblings.
After cornering him in the backyard, police officers saw Clark was holding an object which they thought was a gun and shot him 20 times, claiming they feared for their own safety.
Clark, who was only holding a cellphone, was pronounced dead at the scene and his death sparked massive outrage in Sacramento.
Hundreds of protestors on Tuesday night gathered at the Sacramento City Council meeting where the city Mayor Darrell Steinberg and the City Council held a special session that allowed the public to speak out and ask questions about the shooting death by the police officers.
In an instant, Stephon Clark’s brother Stevante interrupted the session and jumped on top of the desk Steinberg was sitting behind and began leading the gathered crowd in a chant of his brother’s name.
Describing Stevante’s reaction as “the most raw expression of emotion”, Steinberg said he bears Stevante’s pain as he lost his brother but similar sorts of demonstrations in the council chamber cannot happen again.
Along with the internal Sacramento police investigation on the killing, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced earlier Tuesday that the State Department of Justice would also provide an independent oversight of the police investigation into the shooting.