Stephon Clark, the unarmed Black man killed by Sacramento police in March, was likely innocent of vandalizing vehicles, according to the man who placed the 911 call that led to the shooting.
Dave Reiling was at home when he heard the sound of breaking glass. He went outside, noticed that the windows of his trucks were broken and saw a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt standing next to the vehicles. Reiling called the police to report the incident. But he now regrets making that phone call.
“It makes me never want to call 911 again,” Reiling told the Sacramento Bee on Monday. “They shot an innocent person.”
Two police officers gunned down 22-year-old Clark in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18. They were responding to Reiling’s call about someone breaking car windows. During the encounter, the cops said they believed Clark had a gun, which turned out to be a cellphone.
Reiling, a mechanic, lives in a trailer near the home of Clark’s grandparents. He occasionally repaired vehicles for members of Clark’s family. However, he recalled seeing Clark just a few times when the father of two young sons visited his grandparents’ home.
He’s not 100 percent sure that Clark was not responsible for the vandalism. Reiling was unable to get a good look at the person’s face in the darkly lit street.
At the same time, though, investigators are not absolutely certain that Clark is the alleged vandal, according to the newspaper. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said he believed Clark was the person who broke car windows the night of the shooting. However, Hahn could not “say factually it was him yet.”