The Whole World is Watching

Maybe Stephon Clark didn’t die for nothing. Let’s hope and pray that his death, at the of hands of two young Sacramento police officers, will lead to changes in the way police agencies work in African-American communities. It’s not impossible that it will.

The eyes of the nation are on Sacramento right now. Networks from CNN to Vice are in town. The blood-chilling videos of the killing are being watched worldwide. Activists from throughout the nation are demanding justice—demanding that Sacramento do something.

Maybe it will happen. Watch the Sacramento Bee’s video of Darryl Scarbrough, pastor of the Bayside of South Sacramento Church, the Clark family’s church. He believes there is hope that Stephon Clark’s death might inspire something important.

“Sacramento’s in a perfect position to do something the world has never seen, to do something America has never seen—to find a long-term solution to this ongoing conflict,” Scarbrough says.

“Sacramento is just different. There’s relationships that you do not see in most places. There’s a diversity that you do not see in most places. There’s a police chief who called me the next day, to check on the family, even though things are going crazy for him.

“I believe after the dust settles a little bit we’ll be able to pull off something the nation has not seen. It could be an example for the whole country as to how to handle these moments. And how to prevent them from happening.”

Stephon Clark was killed because officers decided to respond to a reported smash-and-grab robbery by chasing a young man into a backyard with guns drawn. That is not right. Our police agencies must develop protocols to de-escalate situations like this. We need Chief Darrel Hahn to make that his top priority. We need him to do it to protect the lives of black men in Sacramento and throughout the nation.