Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old man in Sacramento, California, was shot to death by the police in the backyard of the home he lived with his grandparents and siblings, NY Daily News reports.
Clark had been holding a mobile phone which was mistaken for a weapon when he was shot 20 times by the police.
The police were said to have acted in response to a report alleging a black man was breaking into autos.
In a press release initially released by the police, they said they saw him carrying a toolbar with which he was breaking car windows.
They had approached him, the press release said, and ordered him to stop. He however ran away from the police and toward the backyard of the house.
The police said they followed in pursuit and Clark turned toward them “while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”
They had believed he was holding a firearm and shot him 20 times, they said.
An updated press released however revealed there was no firearm or toolbar at the scene of the crime. Instead, Clark had only his cellphone.
Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother told Sacremento Bee she was inside the house when he grandson got shot in the backyard. She said:
“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground.
I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming.”
The police officers who shot Stephon Clark have been placed on paid administrative leave.