Black man killed by police in his backyard had a cell phone, not a gun

Police in Sacramento, CA shot and killed a 22-year old unarmed black man in his own backyard on Sunday night after believing he had a weapon on him.

But Stephone Clark was shot several times and killed in the backyard of the home he shares with his grandparents and siblings holding nothing besides his cell phone, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Police said they initially thought Clark had a gun after he “extended in front of him” an “object” as he approached them. The police had been directed to the house by a helicopter after saying a man had smashed open a sliding glass door with a “tool bar.”

But upon further investigation, police said there was no gun on the scene and said they only found a cell phone.

Police identified Clark as the possible suspect with the “tool bar,” and said he initially ran from police but eventually turned around and appeared to be holding an item, prompting them to open fire.

What’s disturbing is the time it took for officers to admit their mistake.

They did not immediately provide details about the tool bar on Monday and did not specify that the item in Clark’s hand was not a gun or tool bar until late on Monday night.

After it appeared there was no tool bar, police said two recovered items from the scene of the vandalism that law enforcement in the helicopter could have assumed were the tool bar were a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that could be used for a gutter.

Officers in the front yard of Clark’s home spotted him in the side yard and a department spokesman said Clark was the man tracked by the helicopter and confronted by officers. Police claim they ordered Clark to stop and show his hands, prompting him to flee and the officers to shoot him at 9:26 p.m.

Clark’s grandmother said neither she nor her husband heard the officers issuing Clark any commands prior to hearing the gunshots, and that it was normal for Clark and others to enter the home through the backyard, where they would knock on a back window to be let in via an automatic garage door opener.

Clark was the father of two young sons, age 1 and 3.

Body camera footage will be released after 30 days, officials said, and the two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy.