Protests in front of the Sacramento Kings arena Thursday night delayed the start of a game against the Atlanta Hawks when fans were blocked from entering the building.
Demonstrators gathered to rally against Sunday’s shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police after a foot chase in which they mistook his cellphone for a gun. USA Today reports that protesters formed a chain around the arena by locking arms, barring a number of fans from entering. After a lengthy delay, the doors to the stadium were locked by personnel and the Kings released this statement:
“Tonight’s game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.”
According to a CNN report, police were responding to a call around 9 p.m. Sunday that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. Police gave chase on foot and ultimately confronted Clark in his grandmother’s yard, where they gave Clark commands to stop and show his hands. But police said Clark turned and advanced towards them holding an object they believed to be a gun. Police said they feared for their safety and fired some 20 shots at the suspect.
Clark was pronounced dead at the scene and a cellphone was found next to his body. No gun was found.