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Protests Grow Over Unarmed Black Man's Death In Sacramento

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Protests are growing over the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was killed by two police officers in Sacramento. Last night, basketball players from the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics showed their support for Clark during their game. Capital Public Radio's Adhiti Bandlamudi reports.

ADHITI BANDLAMUDI, BYLINE: On the night of the March 18 shooting, officers had been responding to a report of a man smashing car windows in Clark's neighborhood. The officers spotted Clark in his grandparents' backyard, and one officer shouted that Clark had a gun. Two officers shot at him 20 times, killing him. When they inspected his body, they found not a gun, but a cellphone. Since then, city officials have faced increasing pressure to condemn the officers' actions. One of those officials is Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. He's received criticism for a response that many say has not gone far enough. Police have opened an investigation on the case but have yet to release details about it. Steinberg told Capital Public Radio...

DARRELL STEINBERG: Regardless of those questions and the results of the investigation, the outcome - what happened Sunday night was just plain wrong. It's just plain wrong because a 22-year-old should not have died in this way.

BANDLAMUDI: Over the weekend, protesters merged with the March for Our Lives event against gun violence on school campuses. That drew the attention of Reverend Al Sharpton, who said on MSNBC that he would attend Thursday's funeral for 22-year-old Clark.

(SOUNDBITE OF MSNBC BROADCAST)

AL SHARPTON: Say he was doing something wrong - and there's no evidence of that - you don't get the death penalty for that on the spot. There's supposed to be a court of law that decides whether or not this young man was guilty of anything. And there are many that say he was not.

BANDLAMUDI: During Sunday night's game between the Celtics and the Kings, players on the sidelines wore black shirts bearing Clark's name. The players also debuted a PSA condemning gun violence and demanding attention to Clark's death.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GARRETT TEMPLE: We will not stick to sports.

AL HORFORD: We will not shut up and dribble.

KOSTA KOUFOS: This is bigger than basketball.

ZACH RANDOLPH: Change can be uncomfortable.

MARCUS MORRIS: Change is necessary.

BANDLAMUDI: On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council will hold a community dialogue event. They've scrapped their regular meeting schedule to discuss Clark's death and police brutality. For NPR News, I'm Adhiti Bandlamudi in Sacramento.

(SOUNDBITE OF KENNY SEGAL'S "MIKE NEW BASS IDEAS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.