Sacramento activists want to see justice for the recent police-involved death of a Black father, Brandon Smith. They also want the day to finally come when the police officers involved in Stephon Clark‘s fatal shooting are fired, charged, tried and convicted for his death.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists gathered outside of Sacramento City Hall Thursday on the third day of their “8 Days, 8 Shots” civil disobedience demonstrations for Smith and Clark. The protests, beginning on Tuesday, will last until next Wednesday — one day for each of the eight times that Clark, 22, was shot on March 18 — Ryan McClinton, a community organizer for advocacy group Sacramento Area Congregations Together, told the Sacramento Bee.
Police accountability for the death of Smith, 30, who died from unknown causes while in police custody two weeks ago, was also a top priority for BLM.
Smith, a father of three, took his last breaths during a ride to the Sacramento County Jail on June 6. He was transported by an unidentified Sacramento police officer, having called for medical help during the ride, body camera footage released on June 13 revealed.
“I’m f—– up. I feel like I’m having a heart attack,”Smith is heard in the video saying.
“Oh my god,” he continued, as a Sacramento officer took him to a police truck. He was placed in the vehicle before he fell on the metal floor. Once the car arrived at the jail, Smith was discovered unresponsive, the Bee reported.
It’s important to note that the report said that despite Smith’s pleas for help, no attention, including CPR, was given to him until after he was found out cold. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, with his death being similar to that of Freddie Gray, 25, who died in Baltimore police custody in April 2015.
Gray’s death set off major unrest in Baltimore before Sacramento activists began protesting Smith and Clark’s deaths.
The Sacramento Police Department has kept fairly quiet about the officers involved in Clark’s shooting. The cops’ names have not been officially disclosed. However, civil rights attorney John Burris identified them as Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet after the department released footage of the shooting on March 21. Mercadal and Robinet were put on paid administrative, but then returned to work in a non-patrol capacity on April 9, according to the Bee.
Sacramento County district attorney Anne Marie Schubert won a June 5 primary despite no charges having been brought against the officers for Clark’s death. Schubert blamed the police for the slow investigation, saying the department had not brought their case to her, ABC10 reported. Activists want Schubert and the department to know that no justice equals no peace.