The embattled California city council whose meeting was interrupted by the brother of an unarmed black man who was shot 20 times by police will not meet Wednesday out of respect for the victim’s family and his wake, officials said.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the meeting was canceled out of respect for the family of Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old man fatally shot by police on March 18 in his grandmother’s back yard.
On Tuesday, Clark’s brother, Stevante, and other protesters disrupted the city council meeting, which had opened with a moment of silence and was intended to address his death.
At the packed meeting, Stevante Clark jumped on the dais and demanded to speak, saying he didn’t think the council would make meaningful changes.
The meeting was recessed before it was adjourned early. One person was arrested and charged with assault on an officer and being drunk in public.
In a tweet, Steinberg said the city council members “are committed to ensuring you are heard and we will share information for future meetings as it becomes available.”
Following the city hall protests, demonstrators marched to Golden Center, forcing a delay of an NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks.
“You don’t know what it’s like until you experience it,” Clark’s uncle, Curtis Gordon, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “You can see it on TV, it’s totally OK to deal with those realities when it’s just through a television and they’re not in your home. It’s different now.”
The public wake is set for Wednesday followed by a two-hour funeral Thursday where the Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to speak. Both will be held at the Bayside of South Sacramento Church.
For all the angst and raw emotions, grieving and weary family members appear skeptical that any substantive change will result before the next young black man dies from police gunfire.
"So we appreciate the conversation, but conversation without implementation of some true reformation means nothing," Gordon said. "It brought us to this moment, but what about tomorrow? What about next week?
"You know, sadly, I have no confidence in America and the fact that I will probably hear another story sometime this year of an innocent life lost over excessive police force. It's so common, you're numb to it."
Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office will provide oversight of the investigation and conduct a review of the police department's policies and use-of-force training. The decision of whether to bring criminal charges against the officers involved remains with District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, although Becerra said his office could also bring charges.
Clark's family is skeptical that the investigation will provide appropriate results, Gordon said.
"It's all talk at this point," he said. "Show me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.