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Kings unite as community rallies after senseless murder

by Alyssa Daley
Tue, Mar 27th 2018 09:00 pm

Unfortunately, the death of a young black man by bullets fired from a police officer’s gun does not make for an unusual headline in the United States. On March 18, 22-year- old Stephon Clark was shot to death by two police officers in Sacramento, California, who initially justified killing Clark by insinuating he was the suspect they were looking for who had been breaking windows on cars and that he had been holding a gun, according to The Washington Post article, “Sacramento simmers with tension in wake of fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark.”

After rewatching the video recorded by the officers’ body cameras, it became known that Clark had not been holding a gun, but instead a cell phone. The police have yet to confirm that he was a even a suspect in the breaking windows report. The officers also failed to an- nounce themselves as police officers and shot Clark not once, but 20 times in Clark’s grand- mother’s backyard before standing there for al- most six whole minutes while Clark lay dying, according to the aforementioned article.

The hardest part about this sickening trend is hearing about the ones left behind and the com- munity that is torn apart, knowing that the peo- ple paid to protect them just murdered another innocent, unarmed man. Clark was a father of two little ones, one 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, according to the same Washington Post article.

The dawn of Thursday, March 22, brought a day of protest to Sacramento as the com- munity rallied around the injustice of police brutality directed predominantly toward black men. According to The Sacramento Bee’s article “Protesters of police shooting shut down I-5 and block entry to Sacramento Kings game” the march began at Sacramento City Hall around 3 p.m. and continued down Interstate 5 during rush hour to end with pro- testers surrounding the Golden One Center around 6:15 p.m. The protest prevented the majority of ticket holders from entering the athletic arena.

Unlike some people who would immedi- ately believe that this inconvenience and the very nature of it being a protest would equal violence will be surprised to know that there was very little. There were a few scuffles here and there just because of the sheer number of people in one area, but other than that, noth- ing. What might also be surprising to some people is the response of the Sacramento Kings, the NBA team based at the Golden One Center, whose game was delayed because of the March 22 protest.

The official statement given to ticket hold- ers about obtaining a refund if they were pre- vented from getting inside was the following: “Due to law enforcement being unable to en- sure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remained closed as tonight’s game proceeded with a delay. In the coming days, guests who purchased tickets for tonight’s game directly through the Sacramento Kings or Ticketmaster will receive detailed instruc- tions to facilitate a full refund.”

The very first comment on the Sacramento King’s website on the post of this statement

reads: “How does such a horribly run orga- nization like the Kings blame the police for tonight’s disruption at the game? What a crap organization. It will be a cold day in hell be- fore I give another dollar to this bottom feeder of a franchise.”

This may be surprising because when it comes to Black Lives Matter protests and those similar the protestors are the ones pre- dominately being portrayed as the villains when in reality these PEACEFUL protests are advocating to end the unjust killing of people of color by law enforcement. For those of you on the side of justice, don’t worry, the Kings’ support of the protesters did not end with the official statement about refunds. The team’s owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé ad- dressed the crowd after the game on Thursday, March 22.

“On behalf of the players, executives, own- ership and the entire Kings family, first of all, we wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family,” Ranadivé said to fans after the game. “What happened was absolutely hor- rific, and we are so very sorry, so very sorry for your loss.”

Ranadivé was not alone in expressing his support. He was joined by chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis, president of basketball operations John Rinehart, general manager Vlade Divac and the team’s coaches and players.

“We are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a bet- ter place starting with our own community,” Vivek said later in the speech. “We’re going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a trag- edy from happening again.”

Since this speech, the team has contin-

ued to show their support. The players have designed shirts and worn them to the games during their pre-game warm ups. The front of the shirts read, “Accountability. We are one.” The back’s have, “#StephonClark.” The team has also joined together to create a public service announcement that will air at one of the team’s upcoming games, according to the NBA’s website.

Some retired Kings have taken the extra step and volunteered to cover the funeral costs for the young family left behind after this uncalled for tragedy, according to NBC’s article, “Former Kings players DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes reach out to pay for funeral of Stephon Clark DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes.”

The family has already set up a GoFund- Me page and have been able to raise enough money to cover the funeral expenses, but it is Cousins’ and Barnes’ offers are still amazing examples of the positives still left in humanity amidst all of this darkness and chaos.

The struggle to end police brutality, gun control and racial equality is a long one that seems almost never ending at this point. See- ing the resistance and the persistence of ad- vocates nationwide and the support they are receiving from people who have influence and resources is inspiring hope. After the March for Our Lives march on Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 24, and the Black Lives Matter protest that happened on the 22nd in respect of Clark and the life he lived and lost, there is no doubt people are screaming for change. Now, it’s up to the government to hear those cries.