Just hours before the Sacramento officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man earlier this year and his betrothed exchanged vows, a group of protesters showed up to demand answers.
The officer shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark in the back seven times on March 18 in his grandmother’s backyard. Police initially said Clark had a “toolbar” in his hands; he was only holding a white iPhone.
“I just wanted to know if you started planning your wedding before you killed Stephon Clark or after,” a protester asks in the video posted to Black Lives Matter’s Facebook page. “I know this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but he will not have that opportunity, ever.”
The officer was sitting at a table with about six friends in their undershirts, drinking beers and eating sandwiches, when the group of protesters entered the room.
“You’re a murderer,” another protester shouts in the background of the video.
Tanya Faison, founder of Sacramento’s Black Lives Matter chapter, told CBS13 that she learned of the wedding, held at a vineyard about an hour outside of Sacramento, from the officer’s personal website. “I think they need to be approached in spaces where they’re a little bit more vulnerable,” Faison told the station. “We’re not gonna hurt anyone but we are gonna make them uncomfortable.”
Clark’s death touched off protests across Sacramento, California, including one that shut down a Kings basketball game, which prompted support from some of the players. After Clark’s death, state lawmakers also introduced a bill to increase the burden of proof cops have to present when they defend themselves from using deadly force on civilians.
California’s attorney general took over the investigation into Clark’s death, amid community concerns that the local district attorney wouldn’t carry out a fair review of the case. So far, no charges have been brought against either officer involved, but the investigation is ongoing.
Both officers returned to work in April, one month after Clark’s death but remain on “modified duty” without patrol for “safety reasons,” a department spokesperson told the Sacramento Bee. The Sacramento Police Department declined to publicly identify the officers involved for their own security and said they’ve both received threats. A civil rights lawyer in Oakland, however, later named them.
“People may think that these officers are just going about their lives, but this is a very traumatic event for everyone,” Sacramento Police public information officer Sgt. Vance Chandler told CBS News in response to the video.
Cover image: A woman wears a t-shirt with the photo of police shooting victim Stephon Clark as she waits in line to enter the Bayside of South Sacramento Church for the funeral of Stephon Clark, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)