Tuskegee students stand in solidarity for Stephon Clark

Tuskegee students stand in solidarity for Stephon Clark
Tuskegee students gathered on campus to demand justice for Stephon Clark, who was shot 20 times by Sacramento, California, police.

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Tuesday, Tuskegee University students gathered to remember 22-year-old Stephon Clark.

Clark was shot and killed in his grandmother's backyard in Sacramento, California, by police officers on March 18. Officers were responding to a call of someone breaking car windows when they confronted Clark. After firing 20 shots, police found he was unarmed, carrying only a cell phone.

The death of Stephon Clark hits close to home for Tuskegee University Student Elaysha Johnson.

"Just to see him gone and to know this is happening is just really tragic," said Johnson. Johnson is from Sacramento, California, and went to high school with Clark.

"He always had a free spirit. He was just spontaneous and fun," said Johnson.

Johnson, along with more than a dozen other Tuskegee University students, gathered on in front of the Booker T. Washington Monument on campus to demand justice for Clark.

"We demand accountability from the Sacramento Police Department, from the city of Sacramento and we are charging our community to stand up," said Keyah Brown.

During the demonstration students read poems and heard from former law enforcement officers. For Brown, who didn't know Clark, she feels a sense of connection to him.

"Stephon Clark could have been you. Stephon Clark could have been me. This could happen to anyone at any time, especially now," said Brown.

Tuskegee freshman Joseph Vannerman says he hopes this situation will also open the conversation up about a real fear many African-American men have.

"Every time I see the police I can see feel my heart beat increase and I shouldn't have to fear every time I see blue lights flashing," said Joseph Vannerman.

The California Attorney General's Office is joining an investigation into this fatal police shooting.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.