Black Lives Matter Protesters Block NBA Arena Demanding Justice After Police Shooting of Stephon Clark

Protests have erupted in Sacramento days after two police officers shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black 22-year-old man, in his grandmother's backyard.

Demonstrators blocked the entrance to a local arena where an NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks was being held, chanting "Black Lives Matter."

Footage of the shooting released by police showed two officers searching for a suspect after responding to a call that a person was breaking into vehicles in the area on Sunday evening.

The officers can be seen encountering Clark and pursuing him into a backyard. When they catch up with them, one of the officers can be heard shouting "Hey, show me your hands" before shouting "gun" repeatedly, with shots ringing out shortly after.

Stephon Clark, 22, was shot and killed by police in his grandmother's backyard after officers mistook his cellphone for a gun. Facebook

Police have said the officers who fired multiple shots at Clark believed he had a gun. Investigators never found a weapon at the scene, however, only finding Clark's cellphone near his body.

The shooting has sparked public outrage in Sacramento and across the U.S., sparking a number of protests, including the one outside the Golden 1 Center.

Basketball fans tweeted out images of hundreds of people blocked from entering the building, where the Kings beat out the Hawks in front a nearly empty crowd.

Shortly after the protest began, Sacramento Police told fans over Twitter that they would not be allowing anyone to enter the arena.

In video posted to social media, protesters can be seen chanting to fans to "join us or go home." Some protesters appeared to continue demonstrating outside the building until the end of the game.

In a statement posted on the team's website, the Kings said they would be refunding all tickets purchased for the game.

After the match, Sacramento Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd to convey the team's sympathy for the Clark family.

Kings owner and chairman @Vivek addresses the crowd following tonight’s game.

— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 23, 2018

"On Sunday, we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community," he said. "And on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, we first of all, wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry, so very sorry for your loss," he added.

Read more: Sacramento Police Shoot and Kill Stephon Clark in His Own Backyard After Mistaking Cellphone for Weapon

"I also wanted to say that we at the Kings recognize people's ability to protest peacefully and we respect that," he said. "We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It's a privilege, but it's also a responsibility. It's a responsibility that we take very seriously. And we stand here before you—old, young, black, white, brown—and we are all united in our commitment."

Ranadivé said he recognized that "it's not just business as usual" and vowed to "work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community, and we're going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again."

Kings player Garrett Temple told ABC Sports he fully supported the protesters, adding: "If I didn't have a job to do, I would probably be out there with them, you know, peacefully protesting cause what's going on has to stop. It has to stop."

Temple said Chief Daniel Hahn was a friend of his and that he appreciated the police force releasing video of the shooting, "but that has to stop."

"Something has to change," the basketball player said, adding: "Police unfortunately view black and brown men as a threat when they are certainly not."

A protester holds a photo of Stephon Clark during a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside of Sacramento City Hall on March 22, 2018 in Sacramento, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

In earlier protests, demonstrators also blocked the Interstate 5 freeway, shutting it down in both directions during the evening commute. A protest was also held at Sacramento's City Hall, where people called for the arrest of the two officers who shot Clark.

"No justice, no peace," they chanted inside City Hall.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement that Clark's death warrants a thorough review of the incident and of Sacramento's law enforcement policies.

"It is vital that we give voice to the pain in our community, especially the African-American community," Steinberg said, adding: "There is far too much history, too much pain, not to say loud and clear, the death of one more young man of color is one more too many."

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts