Sacramento Still Dealing With Unrest And Anger As Stephon Clark's Funeral Takes Place
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
For more now, we're going to turn to Capital Public Radio's Ezra Romero. He's been covering this story in Sacramento. Hey there, Ezra.
EZRA ROMERO, BYLINE: Hello.
CORNISH: So I believe you were at the funeral today. First of all, can you just give us a little sense of the scene there, how people were speaking, how they're feeling?
ROMERO: It was an emotional scene. People were hugging each other, crying on each other's shoulders. He has a very large family - uncles, cousins, his mother. They're all grieving his death. His brother, Stevante Clark, gave heart-on-the-sleeve speeches. Outside, they were talking about building a legacy for his brother by bringing equity to the community with things like libraries, grocery stores and community centers. These are all things that Capital Public Radio's reported on in the past in this community. They're grieving, but they have the same sentiments. They want justice. They want the two officers that killed Clark to be charged with murder.
CORNISH: I believe that you have a clip of tape from today. Can you talk a little bit about it?
ROMERO: Yeah. Andre Young is Stephon's cousin. He says Stephon was his best friend and that he can't get the fact out of his mind that his best friend was shot 20 times.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
ANDRE YOUNG: That man was murdered. We was shot in cold blood - probably one of the coldest murders I've ever probably witnessed from a cop. I have two kids here in Sacramento. I have a son and a daughter. I don't feel safe here. I'm a target now. They can kill me anytime now.
ROMERO: Andre Young spoke yesterday at the district attorney's office here in Sacramento, saying some of the same things and that if these two men are not convicted, then things could escalate here in Sacramento to, say, a riot.
CORNISH: We just heard the mayor speaking just a minute ago. Are people reacting to the comments that he's made in the last few days, right? He has been quite public.
ROMERO: Yeah, you know, they are saying a lot of - they are agreeing with his comments when he says that things need to happen now. They don't want - people here in the community that I've spoken with don't want to wait months and months and months for local and state authorities to make up their minds on what happened. They want things to happen now.
CORNISH: Protesters have been out in the city for the past couple of days. Are you expecting more demonstrations tonight?
ROMERO: Yeah, they're expressing ideas on how to change this community of Sacramento. There are three protests happening at the district attorney's office over the past three days. Today's last one. That's the only one that's for sure set in stone. But in the future, Stephon Clark's brother, Stevante, said that there might be a peace rally happening soon, and there's other things coming up. But that's all that's planned at the moment.
CORNISH: In the meantime, can you bring us up to date on the status of the investigation? What's the department say?
ROMERO: Yeah, I'd say it's in the very beginning phase. That's what the Sacramento police chief, Daniel Hahn, told Capital Public Radio this morning in an interview. The case is being investigated both by the authorities locally and statewide. But it could take months, and the community doesn't want to wait that long.
CORNISH: That's Ezra Romero of Capital Public Radio in Sacramento speaking to us about the funeral of Stephon Clark today. Thank you so much, Ezra.
ROMERO: Thank you.
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