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Videos: Sacramento police fatally shoot man who officers believed was armed

Police said the man advanced toward officers holding an object extended in front of him


By PoliceOne Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Police Department released videos of a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man who officers believed had a gun.

The department released body camera and helicopter video Wednesday of the OIS, the Associated Press reported. Police said they were responding to reports of a man breaking into three vehicles and later into a home before the Sunday encounter.

Police said before the helicopter was filming, the man picked up a “tool bar” to break a window, according to the Sacramento Bee. Helicopter footage then shows the suspect break a neighbor’s sliding glass door before climbing over a fence into a neighboring property, where his grandparent reportedly lived.

Officers ordered the man to show his hands before seeing what they believed was a gun, which led to the officers firing at the suspect. The officers performed CPR on him before he was pronounced dead.

Police said the man advanced toward officers holding an object extended in front of him. Officers later found an iPhone in the suspect’s hands. A gun was never found.

The body cam audio cuts out as officers begin to converse in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

"Based on the videos alone, I cannot second guess the split-second decisions of our officers and I'm not going to do that," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement. "The investigation must be completed. We need more information in addition to the video before we can render any final conclusions."

Police didn’t officially identify the man, but family members identified him as 22-year-old Stephon Clark. Clark’s death has ignited questions by Clark’s family, activists and others.

Saquoia Durham, Clark’s aunt, said the shooting could have been avoided.

"They didn’t give him a chance to put his hands up or anything, and then when they shot him down, they knew they messed up,” she said.

Police training expert Ed Obayashi said the shooting was “reasonable” and that firing so many shots was standard procedure.

“It looks bad, but (the officers) are still perceiving a threat,” Obayashi said. “He's not obeying. He's running from them. He suddenly turns. The problem is he‘s got an object in his hand which unfortunately even during daylight could easily be considered a gun.”

Police did not release the identities of the officers and said they both are on paid administrative leave.

 

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