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Protesters shut down Calif. freeway, block entry to NBA game in protest of fatal OIS

The protests are in response to the fatal OIS of a man who police believed had a gun


By PoliceOne Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Protesters shut down a California freeway and blocked entry into an NBA game in response to a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man who officers believed had a gun.

Protesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups gathered on the freeway Thursday, which shut down rush hour traffic both ways. The move was in protest of the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark, NPR reports

Veronica Curry and other protestors crowd the entrance to the Sacramento City Hall to protest the shooting of Stephon Alonzo Clark, by a pair of Sacramento Police officers, during a demonstration, Thursday, March 22, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Veronica Curry and other protestors crowd the entrance to the Sacramento City Hall to protest the shooting of Stephon Alonzo Clark, by a pair of Sacramento Police officers, during a demonstration, Thursday, March 22, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

On Sunday, Sacramento police received reports of a man who broke into three vehicles and later into a home before encountering the suspect. Officers fatally shot the man, who family members identified as Clark, after police said he moved toward officers holding an object officers thought was a gun.

Police found an iPhone in Clark’s hand after the shooting. A gun was never found.

The incident sparked outcry from Clark’s family, activists and others. Protesters chanted inside City Hall and later formed a human chain around the Golden 1 Center, where an NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks was happening, according to the Associated Press.

Police initially attempted to clear entrances at the stadium, but fans were eventually were told to go home. The game at the 17,000-seat arena was played for about 2,000 fans.

Capt. Norm Leong said protesters later dispersed “with no arrests made,” according to the Sacramento Bee. Leong said police used their discretion in deciding to not make any arrests, despite disruptions at the freeway and arena.

"We handle a lot of protests, and every one is different," he said. "In this case, we did what we could to facilitate the safety of everyone involved. Our decision is based on what we are seeing."

 

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