Police say they saw an object in Stephan Clark’s hand before firing 20 bullets that killed him in his own yard Sunday night in Sacramento, with the disturbing moment made public through body camera footage released Wednesday night.
The two officers were responding to a 911 call about a man breaking vehicle windows.
Body camera video released by the Sacramento Police Department depicts a frantic foot pursuit through darkened streets pierced by white slivers of police flashlight. The officers spot Clark approaching a house.
“Show me your hands. Stop! Stop!” He runs. The two officers round the corner of the house and find Clark under a covered patio.
An infrared camera on an overhead helicopter briefly loses the sightline of Clark at this moment.
“Show me your hands! Gun!” an officer shouts, and ducks back behind the wall in a fraction of a second.
The helicopter footage shows one of the officers appearing to grab his partner to pull him to cover.
Clark, who is black, is shown taking a step or two toward the officers. Behind the wall, an officer issues another command. “Show me your hands!” And then instantly: “Gun, gun, gun!”
Both officers engaged in rapid fire. Sparks from the impact of the bullets light up the helicopter’s infrared camera in sharp white pops.
The sequence, from first glimpse of Clark on the patio to the first gunshot, is about six seconds. The officers never identify themselves as police. Clark died at the scene.