The fatal police shooting of 22-year-old unarmed African-American man Stephon Clark, who was shot in his grandmother’s backyard after holding a cell phone last week, sparked national outcry. Activists have stood up for Clark even in the face of those who would actually seek to demean him.
It seems that California Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen just tried to undermine Black folks’ outrage and demonize Clark like it was nothing.
“Very simply, the man that was unfortunately shot in Sacramento, the reason this whole thing happened is he was breaking into cars,” Allen said during a state governor candidates’ forum co-hosted by the San Diego Union Tribune and ABC 10 News on Sunday. “He had smashed a couple of car windows because he was stealing from those cars, apparently. He was then chased by a helicopter and he ran from the police—“
Allen actually blamed Clark for his own killing, never mind the fact that he was shot 20 times by officers. Was the candidate somehow unaware that Clark, a father of two, was riddled with a hail of gunfire last Wednesday?
Allen went on and said, “Why don’t we reset my time. To the best of my understanding, it is very clear that this individual was breaking into cars. When the police helicopter began to follow him, he then ran from police. When police finally apprehended him, he approached them with something in his hand.”
The candidate, known to support Trump, actually resorted to even saying that the shooting had “nothing to do with the color of [Clark’s] skin.” In true Trump fashion, he also defended police officers in the case and touted “law-and-order” rhetoric.
“Then listen, number one, this person should not have been breaking into cars and number two, he should not have been running from the police,” said Allen. “It had nothing to do with the color of his skin. There is no police officer that wakes up in the morning and wants to shoot someone. We must back the badge, respect our law enforcement and understand that there are laws enforced by our police officers in California.”
Allen didn’t address why police didn’t use non-lethal procedures, a question asked by Clark’s grandmother, Sequita Thompson, on Monday, CBS News reported. He also didn’t address the deadly force or Clark’s grandmother, who is left without answers, justice or any kind of peace.
Clark’s life will continue to be celebrated, no matter Allen’s derogatory comments.