Sequita Thompson choked on her tears and wailed in sorrow while telling the gathered crowd about the events that occurred the night two Sacramento, Calif., police officers fired 20 shots into her grandson’s body, ending his life.
She described hearing the gunshots and dropping to the ground, crawling over to her sleeping granddaughter and urging her to get on the ground with her, all the while not knowing that those gunshots had just killed her “baby.”
“I just want justice for my baby. I just want justice for Stephon Clark,” she said, sobbing.
Thompson then collapsed into the arms of family attorney Benjamin Crump and was led away from the podium, the sound of her crying echoing through the main vestibule of Sacramento City Hall.
On Monday morning, Clark’s family, Crump, representatives from both the local and state chapters of the NAACP, and members of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network stood before a podium and spoke to the media about Clark’s death.
Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Clark’s family, has also represented the families of other high-profile police-shooting victims, including Mike Brown and Tamir Rice.
When speaking on Monday, Crump compared the shooting of Stephon Clark with the arrest of accused Parkland, Fla., school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with killing 17 people and was taken into custody unharmed. Crump mentioned the bomber in Austin, Texas, whom, he said, police followed for hours without shooting once.
“But a young black man holding a cellphone is shot 20 times,” Crump said. “We will stand up for Stephon, and we will speak up for Stephon until we get justice.”
Alice Huffman, president of the California Hawaii NAACP and a board member of the NAACP, told reporters that Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has not answered the organization’s calls about the shooting, so it is seeking the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to get a federal investigation into the shooting.
As Huffman was making her final remarks during the news conference, Clark’s brother Stevante showed up and led the crowd in a rousing chant that repeated his brother’s name over and over again.
“Stephon Clark! Stephon Clark!” the crowd chanted in unison, some members sobbing and yelling, “We’ve had enough!” and “We’re tired!”
The trauma of black death at the hands of police is exhausting for us all.
We want justice for Stephon Clark because we need that justice for us all.
Stephon Clark will be laid to rest in Sacramento on Thursday. Sharpton will deliver the eulogy at the family’s request.