18:58 GMT01 December 2020
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    The family of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man who was gunned down by police in his grandparents' backyard while unarmed, will be filing a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento Police Department.

    Representing the family will be Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who previously represented both the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, two black men killed by a community watchman in 2012 and by police in 2014, respectively, according to the Daily Beast.

    "They feel that, at best, police have intentionally misled them, and at worst they flat-out lied to justify this execution of Stephon Clark in his backyard," Crump told the Daily Beast. "[Police] said the first day after the execution that he had a weapon, that's why they had to shoot him 20 times. Then the next day they changed it and said he had some kind of crow bar or toolbar to justify why they had to shoot him 20 times. Then finally they came clean and said he didn't have any weapon of any sort. All he had was a cell phone."

    Another driving force behind the lawsuit is the fact that an officer muted their body camera moments after the shooting took place. An officer can be heard telling another to mute their microphone at the following video's 14:39 mark.

    ​At a news conference held by Crump on Monday, the lawyer told reporters that he would be calling for an independent autopsy of Clark and seeking justice for the family.

    "No family should have to endure this pain and suffering as they try to seek answers for an execution of their loved one who was only holding a cellphone… shot 20 times," Crump said at the conference. "People who committed a mass shooting in Florida were not shot once, but a young black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times… a young man who was bombing homes in Austin, Texas, the police followed him for hours and he wasn't shot once, but an unarmed black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times."

    ​"The Clark family isn't the only family who has had to endure this long pain and suffering… this is all too often a pattern in America… this is reminiscent of so many police shootings of unarmed black and brown people," he added.

    Before bringing in Sequita Thompson, Clark's grandmother, Crump concluded his prepared statement by saying that "we will fight for Stephon until we get justice."

    As tears fell down Thompson's face, she recalled the moments leading up to the shooting and realizing that it was her grandson who'd been gunned down just a few feet away from where she was in her home.

    "They didn't have to kill him like that, they didn't have to shoot him that many times," Thompson said. "Now my great grandbabies don't have their daddy. Why didn't you just shoot him in the arm or in the leg… y'all didn't have to do that."

    "I just want justice for my grandson. I want justice for my baby, I want justice for Stephon Clark. Please give us justice," she added.

    The news conference comes nearly a week after police released bodycam, helicopter and audio recordings from the March 18 shooting.


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