Police in South Sacramento, California fatally shot an unarmed man after they allegedly feared for their lives from the cell phone he was holding.
Officers were responding to reports that a man broke into at least 3 cars along 29th Street in the Meadowview area, reported Fox40.
Investigators claim Stephon Clark, 23, was spotted by a police helicopter in the back yard of a home using a toolbar to break the glass of a sliding door.
After allegedly breaking the glass, police say he then went around to the front of the home to look into another car.
When officers confronted Clark, he was in his grandparent’s back yard. Police claim that Clark extended his arms toward officers as if he had a gun, causing them to fear for their lives, so they shot him several times.
Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.
“He looked back at our officers and faced them. And had something, an object in his hand, and pointed it at our officers,” said Sacramento Police Sgt. Vance Chandler. “And at that time our officers believed it was a firearm, and out of fear for their own lives they fired their service weapons.”
Family members say Clark, a stay-at-home father of two young sons, ages 1 and 3, was shot in the back by officers, which contradicts the police version of events.
After an investigation, the Sacramento PD declared there were no firearms on or near Clark’s body, only a cell phone.
Following standard protocol, the killers have been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
Members of Clark’s family said he was spending the night at his grandparent’s house the night he was shot in the back.
“An innocent black man, going to his grandma and grandpa’s house where he lived,” said Clark’s aunt, Shernita Crosby. “How are you going to explain that? How are you going to justify that?”
The family continues to dispute the police narrative, saying he was moving away from the cops when they decided to kill him.
“In the back, so that means he was running,” Crosby told FOX40. “So that means that he was probably saying, ‘This is my grandmama’s house. This is where I live. Leave me alone.'”