One of the officers who fired 10 shots each at Stephon Clark, ultimately killing the young father, was greeted by Black Lives Matter protesters on his wedding day. It may be easy for the unidentified officer to move on with his life, get married, start a family—opportunities that have now been robbed of Clark—but protesters were not about to let him forget.
It is not clear which of the two officers were celebrating the exchange of vows on Saturday. Back in March, the Sacramento Bee noted that a representative from the office of prominent civil rights attorney John Burris identified the officers involved as Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet. However, Sacramento police have staunchly refused to identify the officers involved, citing safety concerns and CBS 13 followed suit, blurring out footage taken from the wedding protest and declining to name the groom.
Nonetheless, somehow the small group of protesters had gotten the news of the wedding and made sure to show up hours before the officer was meant to say “I do.” The officer was in a room with his groomsmen when protesters swept in. “You’re a murderer!” one voice could be heard shouting.
“I just wonder if you started planning your wedding before you killed Stephon Clark or after? How have you been sleeping since March 18?” another queried, marking the day that Clark was killed.
Black Lives Matter said that they helped plan the protest ever since they discovered the officer’s wedding website, which detailed the venue.
“I think they need to be approached in spaces where they’re a little more vulnerable,” Sacramento BLM founder Tanya Faison told the news station. “We’re not violent, we’re not gonna give to them what they brought to our community, we’re not gonna hurt anyone but we are gonna make them uncomfortable, and they should be because someone is dead.”
CBS13 asked if BLM’s approach was too invasive or going too far but Faison brushed it off. A man needlessly lost his life, so how far is really too far?
Other community members however didn’t agree.
“As a black man in the community, I’m concerned whenever there’s injustice on any black person, certainly there’s a right to protest, but I think there are limits when to protest in a public place and the right of privacy for your wedding,” Michael Keeley said.
“No, I don’t think it’s appropriate, that’s why I say there’s a time and place for everything,” Susiann Donaldson added.
The police say that the officers involved have needed extra security since the shooting as they’ve received several death threats.
“People may think that these officers are just going about their lives, but this is a very traumatic event for everyone,”Sgt. Vance Chandler said.
“I feel that our department has handled demonstrations and protests very well and we have taken great effort’s to allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights but on this one what is the purpose of this?” he added.
Indeed it is a traumatic event for everyone, for Clark’s children, who will now grow up without their father, for his loved ones, who are still trying to wrap their heads around the fact that his life was violently taken.
“Stephon Clark’s family is still mourning and suffering. He doesn’t get to be with his kids, or get married,” Faison said.
The case is still under investigation, and there has been no word as to whether or not the officers involved will even be indicted in the case.
Sacramento Police Officers Association President Timothy Davis released a statement on the protest calling for “the respect” of the community.
The statement read:
The SPOA supports transparency within our Police Department. Transparency brings trust. Trust between our officers and the citizens they protect is an important aspect of a safe community. Our police officers are members of this community. They raise their families here. The send their children to schools here. They live their lives as a part of this community.
Transparency comes with responsibility. Officers deserve to be free from harassment by individuals seeking their own forms of justice. True accountability can only come from our impartial judicial system and from our elected government.
The SPOA will continue to advocate for transparency and thoughtful improvements in police policies, but we request the respect of our community. Give our officers the ability to safely raise their families alongside you.