The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, today demanded accountability following the police shooting of an unarmed African-American man in South Sacramento.
Stephon Clark, 22, was killed after being confronted by officers in the backyard of his grandparents’ home where he lived. Officers fired 20 shots at Clark, who police say they had believed was armed at the time. However, no gun or weapon was found at the scene and Mr. Clark was only found to be in possession of a cell phone. Although Clark’s grandparents were both home at the time he was killed, neither was made aware that their grandson had been killed right outside their home until several hours after the incident occurred.
In a statement, CAIR-SV Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem said:
“There must be a thorough investigation into what happened to Stephon Clark and what led to this young man being killed in his own backyard. We have seen too often the deaths of unarmed African-American boys and men as a result of police-involved shootings.”
“We urgently support the release of all video footage related to Mr. Clark’s shooting in hopes that it will lead to full transparency and accountability.”
CAIR-SV has called for similar investigations of other incidents nationwide involving allegations of disparate treatment of African Americans by law enforcement authorities.
In September of last year, CAIR demanded an independent investigation after a Charlotte, N.C., police officer fatally shot an African-American man while serving a warrant for a different person.
CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter also called on state officials to ensure a “fair and transparent” investigation into the 2016 police shooting death of Terence Crutcher, and welcomed the U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation into the shooting. Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old father of three, was fatally shot by a Tulsa Police officer after his vehicle broke down on a two-lane highway in North Tulsa.