Man Whose 911 Call Led To Stephon Clark’s Fatal Shooting Now Regrets Calling Police
Dave Reiling says he may never dial 911 again after his last call to Sacramento police led to the death of an unarmed man.
“It makes me never want to call 911 again,” Reiling told reporters. According to the Sacramento Bee, Reiling lives in a trailer parked in a yard across from where police encountered Stephon Clark, firing 20 shots at the 22-year-old father of two.
More from ESSENCE
“They shot an innocent man,” Reiling added.
The night of the incident, Reling said he heard glass breaking and went outside to investigate. Once there, he noticed the windows on two of his trucks were shattered and he saw a man in a hoodie standing nearby. After trying to chase the man, Reiling called 911.
“He busted two of my windows in and he broke the car’s window across the street from me,” he told the dispatcher on a recording released after Clark was shot.
After telling the operator the man ran into a nearby yard, police were dispatched to the neighborhood where they encountered Clark and fired 20 shots, hitting him 8 times, mostly in the back.
Reling told reporters he knew some of Clark’s family members because he’d worked on their cars. He also said he can’t say whether the slain man was the same one he spotted standing next to his vehicle that fateful night.
“I can’t tell you that because I didn’t see,” he said.
Though officers initially claimed Clark advanced toward them with a weapon they assumed was a gun, body camera footage of the shooting showed the young man had a cell phone, while an independent autopsy conducted at the family’s request concluded he was shot while facing away from officers.
Clark’s death has sparked weeks of protests across the country, and California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has vowed to provide independent oversight of the investigation into the shooting.