California Senator Kamala Harris spoke at a town hall in the state’s capital on Thursday about the killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.
Clark was fatally shot last month in his grandparents’ backyard after police received a call about a man breaking windows in the neighborhood. Though officers initially claimed the father of two had a gun and “turned and advanced towards” them, it was later revealed that Clark was holding an iPhone.
Clark’s death has sparked nationwide protests, and Sen. Harris said she understands the community’s frustration.
“There is no question that that was a life that should not have been lost. That is a life that should not have been ended.” Sen. Harris said Thursday. “I spoke with his grandmother and when I think about the work of his family members, and friends, and this community in the face of personal and deep grief, being a voice of leadership around an issue that remains a national issue and doing that work of being those courageous voices and selfless in that way – my heart breaks for what’s happened.”
A former prosecutor and the Attorney General of Calif., Sen. Harris said the law has a “profound responsibility and duty to be a voice for the voiceless and the vulnerable,” and it many cases it has failed.
“I grieve with this community,” she said. “And there is a lot of work that needs to be done. And when I think about it, again, I think about it not only in the context of Sacramento and California but in the context of those people who are in the highest levels of leadership. And the need for them to really lead and lead us forward and not backward.”
California’s current Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has vowed to oversee the investigation into Clark’s shooting to determine whether responding officers acted criminally.