Four days after police shot and killed an unarmed Black man identified as 22-year-old Stephon Clark, protests erupted on the streets of Sacramento.
Demonstrators chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’ and blocked the entrance of the Golden 1 Center arena where the Sacramento Kings defeated the Atlanta Hawks in a half-empty arena, CNN reports. Protesters linked arms and blocked fans from getting into the arena. The actions began at City Hall and proceeded to shut down Interstate 5 during rush hour.
No arrests were made. Eventually, the NBA and Kings decided to close the doors. The game was delayed and the arena will refund the tickets.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd at Thursday’s game and expressed sympathy to Stephon Clark’s family.
“We at the Kings recognize people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. 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. We recognize that it’s not just business as usual, and we are going 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.”
Police fired 20 times at Clark in his grandmother’s backyard. According to police reports, they initially believed his cellphone to be a gun. The officers involved in the shooting have since been placed on paid administrative leave.