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"This is his legacy:" Fundraiser honors Stephon Clark 5 years after death by Sacramento police

Fundraiser honors Stephon Clark 5 years after death by Sacramento police
Fundraiser honors Stephon Clark 5 years after death by Sacramento police 03:25

SACRAMENTO -- Wednesday night, the Sacramento community gathered for the fifth annual Stephon Clark Legacy Dinner and Fundraiser, just days before the fifth anniversary of his death.

In 2018, the 22-year-old was shot at 20 times in his grandmother's backyard by Sacramento police officers who thought he was holding a gun. 

Clark was unarmed, holding a cell phone. The district attorney ultimately did not file criminal charges against the officers, who also were not fired. 

His death sparked national outcry and law change in California. 

"It's something that time does not heal, contrary to popular belief," his mother Sequette Clark told CBS13. 

She remembers his smile, laughs, kisses and quick wit most. 

"This is a family, this is a club that no one wants to be a part of," said Stephon's brother Stevante. "So this is more of a call to action every day until we get justice because the fight continues. The fight continues. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired."  

Stevante turned his brother's death into a megaphone, shouting to anyone who will listen that this is not a moment, but a movement. 

"We've become desensitized by these killings," he said. 

Fundraisers like the one on Wednesday night support the ongoing causes through the I Am SAC foundation, cementing Stephon's legacy in Sacramento history through community projects. 

The event also allowed mothers to lean on one another, bound forever by unthinkable tragedy: their sons were killed by police. 

"There's no favor that keeps you from it. I never thought this would be me or my fight. I was thrust into it," said Sequette. 

Stephanie Hatten's son Antwaune Burrise was killed by Stockton police in 2020. 

"I think we all agree, our children will never be the past," said Hatten. 

She attended the fundraiser because of the support the Clark family has given her over the years following Antwaune's death. 

"They got me out of my bed, they gave me strength and they helped me find acceptance for the senseless murder of my child," said Hatten.      

The families are calling for change, like the Stephon Clark Law passed in 2019 in California which setting new standards for when police can use deadly force. 

"That's Stephon's legacy, and because of that, California is a better place," said Sequette. 

They have their sights set now on the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by Congress. 

"I want Joe Biden to sign that act so we can feel as if our kids' life mattered," said Hatten. 

"And we don't have time to waste in this movement because they keep on killing us," said Stevante. 

Also top of mind Wednesday night was the recent police beating of Sacramento native Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., who died from his injuries days later. 

The Clark family has supported the Nichols family through their grief and advocacy, even attending Tyre's funeral in Memphis. 

The I Am SAC foundation will use money raised at Wednesday night's event to help support projects like the "Siblings Overcoming Sadness" and "Healing with Mama Clark" groups, helping families navigate loss. 

Learn more about Stephon's legacy here.

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