Protesters block interstate, NBA game after police shooting of an unarmed black man

Hundreds of protesters filled the streets of Sacramento on Thursday after police shot and killed a 22-year-old unarmed black man.

The crowd shut down Interstate 5 during rush hour and blocked the entrance of the Golden 1 Center stadium before the Sacramento Kings game, The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.

Demonstrators were protesting the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark in the backyard of his grandparents’ home on Sunday.

{mosads} Body camera and helicopter footage released by the Sacramento Police Department show officers searching backyards after 911 calls about a suspect smashing car windows.

Police allegedly thought Clark had a gun and fired several shots, leaving him on the ground for several minutes before they approached to see if he was all right.

Clark was found with only a cellphone.

Shortly after police released the footage about 3 p.m., crowds gathered near City Hall, chanting “Face the people,” the Bee reported.

The group moved to block nearly a mile of the interstate before moving toward the main spectator entrance at the arena while people were lined up waiting to get into the game.

A group of about 100 protesters held Black Lives Matter banners and chanted “Shut it down.”

The Kings game against the Atlanta Hawks was delayed but not canceled.

The Kings issued a statement at 7:41 p.m. saying they would not admit any more people and would offer refunds for the price of their tickets.

Some people were disappointed and bumped fists with police officers in support. Others said they weren’t upset and wanted to support the protest.

“I am appalled by what happened to the young man,” Barbara Mitchell told the Bee. “It was a travesty. So, as much as I love basketball, it’s OK. I’m not angry. I admire them for taking the time to protest an injustice.”

More than 17,000 people had tickets to the game but only about 2,000 people made it inside the arena, the Bee reported.

Vivek Ranadivé, the Kings’s principal owner, made a statement over the microphone from the court, apologizing for the turmoil caused by Clark’s death.

“What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry, so very sorry for your loss,” he said, adding they he respected the protesters’ right to assemble outside and would use the Kings’s public platform for good. 

Police approached in riot gear but did not engage the crowd and left several minutes later. 

The Bee reported that while “noisy and passionate,” the protest did not turn violent and no arrests were made.

The New York Times reported that the officers involved in Clark’s death are on paid leave until the investigation is complete.

Tags Black Lives Matter NBA Sacramento Sacramento Sacramento Kings Stephon Clark

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