Black Lives Matter activists continued protesting in Sacramento on Thursday over the shooting of an unarmed black man by police, calling for criminal charges against the officers after an emotional funeral service for the 22-year-old victim.
The protesters blocked streets downtown in the California capital calling for justice following the police shooting of Stephon Clark, the Associated Press reported.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento has organized three days of protests beginning at the district attorney’s office downtown.
At least 60 protesters gathered outside the district attorney’s office, holding signs such as “Prosecute” and “Justice for Stephon Clark,” according to media reports.
Clark was shot to death March 18 by two officers who were responding to a nighttime phone call about a man breaking car windows and a glass door. The officers encountered Clark in his grandparents backyard and shot him to death, firing 20 bullets. Clark did not have a weapon. A cellphone was found nearby.
On Thursday, several demonstrators approached a row of police on bicycles as one man held up a cellphone and asked, “Is this a gun?’’ according to the AP.
Friends, family and community leaders gathered Thursday in south Sacramento to commemorate Clark.
The service was attended by an estimated 500 people and was emotional from the beginning.
Clark’s brother Stevante Clark hurried to the front of the church after the opening prayers and threw himself on the casket, embracing it, as performers danced. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who spoke at the funeral, attempted to calm him.
This week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the shooting was a “local matter” when asked about it by a reporter.
“No, this is not a local matter,” Sharpton declared at Clark’s service. “They’ve been killing young black men all over the country, and we are here to say that we’re going to stand with Clark and the leaders of this family. … This is about justice. This is about standing with people with courage.”
The police killing of the unarmed African-American man has sparked protests and reignited debate over police brutality against African-Americans.
Clark’s killing has prompted activists to demand greater independence in the investigation and some have called for the officers to be charged with crimes.
“Stephon Clark has brought us back,” Sharpton said at the close of the funeral. “We’re going to make (President) Donald Trump and the whole world deal with the issue of police misconduct.”
The California attorney general’s office joined the investigation Wednesday to provide independent oversight.
The announcement was made by Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, who said the partnership with the attorney general’s office is intended to “build faith and confidence” in the probe.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his office would ensure the probe would be “based on the facts and the law, nothing less, nothing more.”