A terrible thing happened in Sacramento earlier this month. Police officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, apparently believing the iPhone he was holding was a gun. The body-camera footage is singularly unhelpful, except to provide evidence that the officers seemed to genuinely believe they faced an imminent, mortal threat. I’ll embed the footage below, but the basic facts are simple:
Police responded to reports of a broken window, and when you watch all the released footage, you can see that the initial response is quite calm and casual. Two officers politely knock on a door, ask permission to search a backyard, find nothing, and then walk back to the street. Meanwhile, a helicopter overhead spots a person apparently breaking a window and then jumping a fence and moving to a neighboring house, where he looks in a car window.
That’s Stephon Clark. The house he ran to is his grandparents’. There is nothing at that moment visible in his hands.