Stephon Clark shooting brings attention to police gun violence once again

Kennedi Jackson | Staff Writer

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The Associated Press

 

In the aftermath of the most recent shootings, there has been widespread anger over gun violence, inspiring marches and protests all over the country. Now, there has been yet another unarmed shooting of a black man. Stephon Clark, a 22-year old black man living in Sacramento, CA, was shot on Sunday, March 18 by the Sacramento police.

On the evening in question, police responded to a 911 call saying that there was a man in a black hoodie who had busted a truck’s windows and was now making his way through a neighborhood’s backyards. Officers arrived on scene and the supposed perpetrator was spotted by the sheriff’s helicopter. The sheriff told police that the man was holding a toolbar and was currently breaking into another home.

The pursuit was recorded by the officers’ body cameras as they confronted the suspect in a backyard. As officers are yelling to see the suspect’s hands, one officer yelled “Gun!” Gunfire erupts.

In the end, Stephon Clark was shot multiple times. And the “gun” he was holding? It turned out to be a cellphone. Due to the outrage felt in the city of Sacramento, mass protests have been held and are expected to continue. But this anger is not only felt by California citizens; Hampton students and staff are appalled by the event as well.

Ahmaad Edmund, a first-year Political Science major, says that he was hurt when he heard about the shooting. “Think about his family…his grandparents have lost a grandchild, his sons are without a father…it’s disheartening.”

Reforming gun laws has been an issue on many people’s minds, and with Clark’s shooting it is needed more than ever. Many wonder since this has happened, what can be done to stop the gun violence against innocent people. “We need to examine this thoroughly, and have the mindset of we’re not letting up until we see changes”, says Edmund. “Until we go a year without violence, or police brutality…until that time comes we have work to do.”

Dr. Zina McGee, a sociology professor who researches gun violence, shares a similar view on the next steps America should take regarding gun violence.

“We as a society need to pay closer attention to the repercussions of having so many young people exposed to guns…We must not continue to ignore many warning signs that are often presented to us as these young people go through our schools and are not able to adequately perform because of what they’ve been exposed to.”

Stephon Clark’s funeral was held Thursday, March 29. Hundreds of people attended, paying their respects to his family before heading downtown afterwards to continue their protests. Following this tragic event, it can only be wondered when the police shootings of unarmed black men will stop, and when will law enforcement say enough is enough.

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