Friday, March 23, 2018

US Raises New Hurdles to Re-engagement
24 MAR, 2018 - 00:03
Herald Reporter

The United States government has proposed multiple prescriptive reforms as a precondition for re-engagement with Zimbabwe’s new administration led by President Mnangagwa.

Two US senators — Messrs Jeff Flake(Republican) and Chris Coons (Democrat) — who are members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday unveiled a proposed revised version of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) of 2001.

But commentators yesterday indicated the new conditions, particularly on elections, were eerily similar to demands made by the MDC Alliance through its Plan and Environment for A Credible Election (PEACE) document that was launched by its presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday.
We’ve Nothing to Hide, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Tells EU
22 MAR, 2018 - 00:03
Felex Share
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday told the European Union election exploratory team that it had nothing to hide and is open to scrutiny before, during and after the harmonised elections.

The electoral body also gave the EU team a blow-by-blow account of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system saying it was not living anything to chance to ensure credible elections.

ZEC also said it was prepared for an eventuality, principally a run-off in the event that the elections do no produce an outright winner.

The EU team, led by the bloc’s Head of Democracy and Support Unit, Mr Patrick Costello, is carrying out pre-election assessment ahead of the elections expected by end of July.

The team yesterday met the ZEC, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda and MDC Alliance representatives led by Mr Nelson Chamisa. Speaking after the meeting, ZEC acting chairperson Mr Emmanuel Magade said the electoral body had nothing to hide.

“The full Commission minus the chairperson (Justice Priscilla Chigumba), who is in Russia and one other Commissioner had a lengthy discussion with the EU team and we categorically told them that we have nothing to hide and as a public entity we are more than happy to subject ourselves to scrutiny,” he said.

“Where we do things right we expect commendation and where we have shortfalls we take warranted criticism graciously. They asked a number of questions and we went out of our way to explain the minute details of the processes. My impression is that they were reasonably satisfied with our explanations.”

Mr Magade added: “We told them that we are not living anything to chance and we are prepared for a run- off in the event that there is no outright winner as provided for by the law. We also assured them of our determination to scrupulously observe the law in terms of management of elections. Not only are we servants of the people, we are also servants of the law. Ultimately, we are accountable and answerable to the people of Zimbabwe.”

He said the EU team gave the electoral body the processes that would be involved if the bloc decided to send an Observer Mission.

“This involves when the teams would be expected to come and that they would be dotted all over the country and that our interface with them would be predicated upon a Memorandum of Understanding between EU and ourselves,” Mr Magade                                                                                        said.

“The MoU would spell out the rules of engagement. They wanted to know if we had a detailed roadmap for the elections, but we gave them a general outline of the roadmap underscoring that some of the processes are dependent upon a proclamation having been made by the President. They wanted to know about Diaspora vote and we told them that we are waiting for the courts to make a determination.”

Meanwhile, in their meeting with the EU, MDC Alliance presented a list of the usual unsubstantiated demands, which they said would ensure free, fair and credible elections.

The Alliance outlined the 10 demands in its Plan and Environment and Credible Election (PEACE) launched yesterday.

The coalition said it wanted the demands responded to before the elections.

The EU is meeting various stakeholders and have already met traditional leaders, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Foreign Affairs and International Trade secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha among other interested parties.

President Mnangagwa has opened up the electoral processes to ensure credible, free and fair elections, a move that has seen Government inviting the EU for the first time in 16 years.

Government has also given other international observers, including the United Nations, the green light to monitor the elections.

Today the team is expected to meet zanu-pf officials, the police and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Mudenda Meets EU Team
24 MAR, 2018 - 00:03
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Cde Jonathan Samukange and Highfield West MP Cde Psychology Maziwisa chat with EU head of mission Mr Patrick Costello after a closed-door meeting at Parliament Building in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Memory Mangombe)

Nyemudzai Kakore
Herald Correspondent

Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday met with the European Union (EU) election exploratory team and advised them that Parliament was going to align the electoral law ahead of elections.

The polls are expected to be held in July.

The nine-member EU delegation, led by the bloc’s Head of Democracy and Support Unit Mr Patrick Costello, was accompanied by EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Philipe Van Damme.

Advocate Mudenda said Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) has necessitated the need to align the law.
Angola's Oil Industry Close to Tipping Point
London (Platts)
22 Mar 2018 735 am EDT/1135 GMT

A lack of enthusiasm in Angola's upstream prospects, coupled with a steady decline in oil output, means the country's boom days could be numbered unless it can stimulate activity in more deepwater projects.

The new government led by President Joao Lourenco will have to take some bold and gutsy steps to reform its oil industry, on which it so heavily depends.

Angola's oil production has been on the wane in the past few years, with a plethora of fields that are mature and in decline and a lack of new upstream investments and incentives.

Technical and operational issues, especially at its offshore fields, as well as a lack of upstream investment have dragged output down by 250,000 b/d in the past two years.

Production is expected to average 1.58 million b/d in the first four months of this year, according to S&P Global Platts estimates, down from a peak of around 1.9 million b/d in 2008.

The World Refinery Database provides an in-depth view of the international refining industry, with a unique dynamic interface which allows you to focus on the data you need. Analyze specific refineries, or get a regional, national or global perspective with up-to-date and historic information for every refinery in the world.


Back then, Angola was an oil prize, as the search and scramble for deepwater oil and gas pushed majors and independent explorers toward the southern African country.

But some of the pre-salt plays disappointed potential partners and due to volatile oil prices, economic hurdles and regulatory uncertainties, a number of projects were delayed.

State-owned Sonangol has been holding active discussions with international oil companies in the past few months as it makes tweaks to the fiscal terms of its upstream contracts in its efforts to revive the deep offshore sector, sources active in the Angolan oil sector told S&P Global Platts.

Angola remains a keen prospect for deepwater exploration for oil companies but without any new fiscal or regulatory changes investment isn't likely to increase, they added.

"They need to focus on getting more foreign investment in the upstream sector and get the oil companies to return to drilling," said one industry source, who added that the ministry needs to give these companies more financial incentives.

Sonangol wasn't immediately available for comment.

Integral to Angola's oil sector is its national oil company, Sonangol, which has endured five very difficult years, as the cash-strapped and debt-laden company struggles in the low oil price environment.

Sources said the company is currently focusing on maintaining production levels to deal with the threat of maturing and declining fields.

To achieve this, Angola is resting its hopes on the 230,000 b/d deepwater Kaombo field in Block 32, which is expected to start up in mid-2018.

The field is currently Angola's only real shot at reversing its output decline but, despite being a big project, the ministry has still chosen to set a modest target of only maintaining current production levels.


Angola's difficulties are illustrated by the particularly steep fall in loadings of medium-heavy crude grades Hungo and Pazflor, both of which are produced from mature fields.

"Hungo could be fading -- it's one of the older fields," said one West African crude trader.

He added that Pazflor's drop has been more sudden but said it can vary month-by-month.

"Five years ago, Pazflor was the crude of the moment, probably this is one [grade] where it's most noticed but that being said, if you fail to have an end-month cargo, ie. one cargo disappears and that could make it look smaller than it actually is," the trader added.

These concerns were recently echoed by the International Energy Agency, which said that it expects Angola to post the biggest slide in production capacity after Venezuela out of OPEC's 14 members in the coming years.

The agency added that this was occurring as "ageing oil fields lose steam and foreign investors, faced with relatively uncompetitive prospects, lose enthusiasm."

The IEA estimated that the country's production capacity will fall 370,000 b/d to 1.29 million b/d over the six years to 2023.

--Eklavya Gupte,
--Gillian Carr,
Last week, Angolan prosecutors charged former central bank governor, Valter Filipe da Silva, in relation to the alleged $500 million fraud attempted against the Angolan government.


LUANDA - Britain’s National Crime Agency said on Monday $500 million frozen in the UK as part of an ongoing investigation into a potential fraud against Angola’s central bank can be returned to the southern African country.

“The necessary authority has now been provided for the monies to be returned to the Angolan Authorities,” an emailed response to questions said.

Last week, Angolan prosecutors charged former central bank governor, Valter Filipe da Silva, in relation to the alleged $500 million fraud attempted against the Angolan government last year, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The source said the attempted fraud occurred in the final weeks of the presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos when $500 million was transferred from the central bank to an account in the United Kingdom. It was, however, flagged as suspicious by British authorities and frozen.

Angola’s prosecutors’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to contact da Silva.

In January, in response to questions about the case sent by Reuters, Britain’s National Crime Agency said: “We can confirm that the NCA’s international corruption unit is investigating a case of potential fraud against the Angolan Government.”

According to a separate source, NCA investigators have visited Luanda and held meetings with top government officials.

On Thursday, the NCA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news was first broken earlier on Thursday by the blog Maka Angola run by activist and journalist Rafael Marques.

President João Lourenço has vowed to combat an endemic culture of corruption since taking office in September after nearly 38 years of rule by dos Santos.

“No one is so rich and powerful that they cannot be punished and no one is so poor that they cannot be protected,” he said at his inauguration.
Kings Owner Vivek Ranadive on Stephon Clark Protests in Sacramento: 'Stunned'
Sam Amick
4:02 p.m. ET March 23, 2018

Demonstrators protested outside City Hall and disrupted the start of an NBA game in Sacramento, California, after police shot and killed an unarmed black man. Police say they feared Stephon Clark was holding a gun when they shot him on Sunday. AP

SACRAMENTO – When Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive sat with Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler in his owner’s suite at the Golden 1 Center hours before tipoff Thursday evening, it was business as usual.

This game between two lottery-bound teams had little meaning even before the latest intersection of sports and society would unfold, with only the fate of draft ping pong balls – and some good, old fashioned pride – in play. Little did they know how meaningless it would seem soon thereafter.

Four days after two Sacramento police officers shot and killed 22-year-old African-American Stephon Clark in south Sacramento after responding to a call about break-ins, hundreds of protesters had made their way from nearby Interstate 5 to the arena. Clark, a father of two who was in his grandparents’ backyard when he was shot at 20 times while unarmed, was suspected of breaking into three vehicles and a nearby home, according to Sacramento police.

With arms locked and all those signs of frustration held high, the protesters blocked the doors as fans tried to enter.

“I was pulled out of the dinner, and I was told what was happening (outside the arena),” Ranadive, who led the ownership group that bought the team in the summer of 2013 and opened the arena last season, told USA TODAY Sports. “And so, I went upstairs and I saw what was going on. I was obviously stunned.

"I saw the crowd outside. I saw the police standing there. And I had different, complex emotions, because I have boys. I have a boy right now, actually, in the military (his 30-year-old son, Andre, is in the Army). And I have young boys, and the thought that your boy could be out in the yard and somebody shoots him, how horrific is that?”

While Ranadive said that the NBA made the decision to not cancel the game, the Kings decided to shut down their arena doors as a way of maintaining the peace and respecting the protest. And so, with longtime radio man Gary Gerould calling the Kings’ 105-90 win in relative silence and the voice of announcer Scott Moak bouncing off all those empty seats, the action ensued.

The Kings announced that all the fans who were turned away – as many as 15,000 by some unofficial estimates inside the building that holds 17,608 – will receive refunds. Fans who made it inside were given free food and non-alcoholic beverages.

“There’s obviously never a right decision in this type of situation, and on the one hand there’s been a life lost and you can’t just go about life in terms of it being business as usual, because it really isn’t,” Ranadive explained. “A young man has been killed under these circumstances. But then on the other hand, you think that maybe this is an opportunity to bring people together.”

By the time the night was over, the oft-criticized owner had done just that.

His postgame speech – Ranadive with the microphone at center court, surrounded by players, front office executives and the team’s coaching staff – struck all the right chords at the most sensitive of times. He expressed sympathy for Clark’s family, then shared his view about the value of peaceful protest and the need for the community to band together.

But Ranadive hadn’t done this alone.

He consulted his players about the message, with veterans like Vince Carter, Garrett Temple, Iman Shumpert and others weighing in as they all discussed the right tact to take.

The decision? Closed doors and open hearts.

“It was a combination of our veteran players and people in our front office,” Ranadive said. “It was just the sentiment that this was a big deal. It wasn’t even clear that the game was going to happen tonight, but we went ahead and played, and so I just said, ‘Yeah, absolutely, I will happily share some thoughts.’ I just kind of spoke from the heart, and shared what I thought.”

The Kings have no shortage of players who have already been active on this front, none moreso than Temple. The 31-year-old has focused on bridging the gap between police officers and young people in the community, hosting several townhall-style meetings at inner city Sacramento schools and churches.

“I 100 percent agree with the protest outside,” Temple, who did not play because of an ankle injury, said afterward. “If I didn’t have a job to do I’d probably be out there with them peacefully protesting because what’s going on has to stop. It has to stop.”

As the protest commenced outside and the ball started to bounce inside, the Black Lives Matter conversation even continued on the court.

“We had conversations throughout the game about it,” the 41-year-old Carter said. “And when I say we, I mean both teams, with each other. We have a game to play. We have a job to do, but (the protest) didn’t go unnoticed.

“That’s what it’s all about, is raising awareness, because we know it was going to be talked about and we know the game’s played but the conversation for both teams, it wasn’t just before the game. It was throughout the game. It was pretty neat.”

Ranadive, like so many others, won’t soon forget the message that was sent.

“We have just an amazing set of players, and we have an amazing community here, and in many ways I’ve always said that we created kind of the communal fireplace over here,” Ranadive said.

“This is kind of the gathering place, and this is where people want to express their feelings, so I thought it’d be appropriate to show unity and show sympathy and love for the family, and show that we recognize that it’s a privilege to have this platform but it’s also a responsibility.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick on Twitter @sam_amick
3/23/18 AT 9:08 AM

Protests have erupted in Sacramento days after two police officers shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black 22-year-old man, in his grandmother's backyard.

Demonstrators blocked the entrance to a local arena where an NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Hawks was being held, chanting "Black Lives Matter."

Footage of the shooting released by police showed two officers searching for a suspect after responding to a call that a person was breaking into vehicles in the area on Sunday evening.

The officers can be seen encountering Clark and pursuing him into a backyard. When they catch up with them, one of the officers can be heard shouting "Hey, show me your hands" before shouting "gun" repeatedly, with shots ringing out shortly after.

Stephon Clark, 22, was shot and killed by police in his grandmother's backyard after officers mistook his cellphone for a gun.

Police have said the officers who fired multiple shots at Clark believed he had a gun. Investigators never found a weapon at the scene, however, only finding Clark's cellphone near his body.

The shooting has sparked public outrage in Sacramento and across the U.S., sparking a number of protests, including the one outside the Golden 1 Center.

Basketball fans tweeted out images of hundreds of people blocked from entering the building, where the Kings beat out the Hawks in front a nearly empty crowd.

Shortly after the protest began, Sacramento Police told fans over Twitter that they would not be allowing anyone to enter the arena.

In video posted to social media, protesters can be seen chanting to fans to "join us or go home." Some protesters appeared to continue demonstrating outside the building until the end of the game.

In a statement posted on the team's website, the Kings said they would be refunding all tickets purchased for the game.

After the match, Sacramento Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd to convey the team's sympathy for the Clark family.

"On Sunday, we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community," he said. "And on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, we first of all, wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry, so very sorry for your loss," he added.

"I also wanted to say that we at the Kings recognize people's ability to protest peacefully and we respect that," he said. "We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It's a privilege, but it's also a responsibility. It's a responsibility that we take very seriously. And we stand here before you—old, young, black, white, brown—and we are all united in our commitment."

Ranadivé said he recognized that "it's not just business as usual" and vowed to "work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community, and we're going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again."

Kings player Garrett Temple told ABC Sports he fully supported the protesters, adding: "If I didn't have a job to do, I would probably be out there with them, you know, peacefully protesting cause what's going on has to stop. It has to stop."

Temple said Chief Daniel Hahn was a friend of his and that he appreciated the police force releasing video of the shooting, "but that has to stop."

"Something has to change," the basketball player said, adding: "Police unfortunately view black and brown men as a threat when they are certainly not."

In earlier protests, demonstrators also blocked the Interstate 5 freeway, shutting it down in both directions during the evening commute. A protest was also held at Sacramento's City Hall, where people called for the arrest of the two officers who shot Clark.

"No justice, no peace," they chanted inside City Hall.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement that Clark's death warrants a thorough review of the incident and of Sacramento's law enforcement policies.

"It is vital that we give voice to the pain in our community, especially the African-American community," Steinberg said, adding: "There is far too much history, too much pain, not to say loud and clear, the death of one more young man of color is one more too many."
Stephon Clark Shooting: How Police Opened Fire On an Unarmed Black Man Holding a Cellphone
Los Angeles Times
MAR 23, 2018 | 8:10 AM
Stephon Clark shooting: How police opened fire on an unarmed black man holding a cellphone
The fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark brought protesters to Sacramento City Hall on Thursday. (Associated Press)

Stephon Clark was shot by Sacramento police in the backyard of his home Sunday.

Police said officers believed he was holding a gun, but all they recovered at the scene was a cellphone.

Here's a breakdown of the case that has sparked protests and outrage:

What happened?

The deadly encounter occurred Sunday behind the home that relatives said Clark shared with his grandparents and siblings. A 911 caller had reported to police that a man had "busted both my truck windows out, and he's in people's backyards right now." The caller said the man was wearing a black hoodie.

The officers arrived in the neighborhood at 9:13 p.m., the department said. About 9:25 p.m., the sheriff's helicopter spotted a man in a backyard and told police that the suspect had picked up a "toolbar" and broken a window to a home. As the man climbed a fence and entered another yard, the pilot directed officers to his location.

Police say Clark scaled a tall fence and peered into a vehicle before running into his backyard, where officers pursued and shot him.

Clark, it turned out, had no weapon, only a cellphone.

What do the videos show?

Sacramento police have released video footage from the body cameras worn by the two officers who encountered Clark, as well as from the sheriff's helicopter, showing the shooting after a chaotic nighttime pursuit last weekend.

Shaky body cam footage shows officers running up a dark driveway with flashlights. "Hey! Show me your hands! Stop! Stop!" an officer yells. As the officersrun into a backyard, they turn a corner and spot Clark in the glare of their flashlights. The officers take temporary cover behind the corner and then confront the suspect once more. This time, an officer yells at Clark to show his hands, then begins shouting, "Gun, gun, gun!" Gunfire then erupts.

A total of 20 shots were fired.

A department statement said that "prior to the shooting, the involved officers saw the suspect facing them, advance forward with his arms extended, and holding an object in his hands. At the time of the shooting, the officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them."

The Sacramento Police Department released helicopter footage of the police shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was holding his cellphone in his grandparents' backyard.
What do independent experts say about the videos?

The Times talked to several experts, and they were divided about the police response.

Ed Obayashi, a deputy sheriff and legal advisor to Plumas County, specializes in examining police shootings. He called Sunday's shooting "reasonable," adding that "a cellphone can easily be perceived as a gun in that environment of poor light."

Obayashi said the officers' "threat radar is way high" after moving through backyards in pursuit of a suspect reported to have committed several dangerous felonies, including breaking into a home. "This guy wasn't complying with orders and raised his hands with an object in his hands," he said.

Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminologist who studies police chases and shootings, disagreed.

"It doesn't look good," Alpert said, noting that "the yelling of the word 'gun' here seems to trigger the shooting."

"The officers are going to have to explain all 20 shots. They are going to have to justify repeatedly shooting," he said. "The bottom line is we have a young African American man with a cellphone being shot dead by police."

What has been the reaction in the community?

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Thursday, blocking a freeway and access to a Sacramento Kings game. At City Hall, members of Black Lives Matter and other activists condemned the incident as yet another case of officers shooting an unarmed black person.

More protests are planned for Friday.

Police said they are trying to be transparent about the shooting by releasing videos but urged patience as the department investigates.

"I urge our community to remain peaceful, to respect one another, to try and be extra kind to each other," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. "Let us channel our anguish into healing and to justice."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said she was "sickened by the senseless shooting .… His life mattered, and he should be alive today. I extend my condolences to his children, family and friends."

Richard Winton

Richard Winton is a crime writer for the Los Angeles Times and part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2011. Known as @lacrimes on Twitter, during 20 years at The Times he also been part of the breaking news staff that won Pulitzers in 1998 and 2004. He won the ASNE Deadline News award in 2006. A native of England, after getting degrees from University of Kent at Canterbury and University of Wisconsin-Madison, he began covering politics but chose a life of crime because it was less dirty.

Sarah Parvini

Sarah Parvini is a reporter on the Los Angeles Times’ Metro desk covering breaking news and stories throughout the state. She was part of the team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. A San Diego native, she defected from the Padres’ camp and found refuge in Dodger Stadium.

Monte Morin

Monte Morin is a breaking news and assignment editor for the Los Angeles Times and oversees online coverage at the LA Now news blog. Previously, he has reported on drought, science, health, war, crime, courts and transportation, and has held a variety of editing posts. He shared staff Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news in 2004 and 2016 and won two overseas coverage awards from Military Reporters and Editors as a combat correspondent for Stars and Stripes. A native of New England, Morin attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was a medic in the U.S. Army Reserve. He enjoys riding and wrenching motorcycles.
In Sacramento, Protesters Shut Down Freeway And Block Entrance To Kings Game
March 23, 20189:32 AM ET
National Public Radio

Black Lives Matter protesters march Thursday in Sacramento, Calif., after two officers in the city's police department shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, in the backyard of his grandparents' house on Sunday evening.

A day after Sacramento Police released footage of officers fatally shooting an unarmed black man in his grandparents' backyard, protesters took to the streets.

Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old father of two, died Sunday after being shot by police, who say they thought he was pointing a gun at them. Officers fired about 20 shots at Clark and then waited more than five minutes before administering aid. The only object found near Clark's body was a cellphone.

On Thursday, activists from Black Lives Matter and other groups chanted inside City Hall before making their way to Interstate 5, shutting down traffic both ways during rush hour.

"I have four grandbabies that are black. I don't want them to be next," protester Tami Collins told Capital Public Radio.

Protesters then moved to Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play.

As protesters gathered outside the arena, they locked hands and barred fans from entering. The game was delayed but not canceled, and the Kings announced that no more fans would be admitted because law enforcement could not ensure that ticketed fans could safely enter the arena. The team said it would refund those who had tickets to the game.

From center court, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed the small crowd of about 2,000 who had made it into the arena and expressed sympathy to Clark's family.

"What happened was absolutely horrific, and we're so very sorry, so very sorry for your loss," he said. "I also wanted to say that we at the Kings recognize people's abilities to protest peacefully and we respect that."

"We recognize that it is not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community," Ranadivé went on. "We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again."

"Regardless of your skin color, it's just what's right and what's wrong and how we can support each other, even if it has nothing to do with you. Lend a hand and support. That's the message that needs to shine through all of this."

The two officers involved in the shooting have not been named; both have been placed on paid administrative leave.

"This is an epic day for black Sacramento," Brrazey Liberty, a musician and Black Lives Matter activist told The Sacramento Bee. "We feel like we had a victory today. Today was ours."
Stephon Clark: Protests Over Police Shooting Shut NBA Arena
BBC World Service

Protesters in Sacramento, California, blocked a motorway and basketball arena over the killing of an unarmed man.

Scores first gathered at city hall, waving signs and demanding action. Scuffles were reported but police said there were no arrests.

The protests were sparked by the release of police video showing the killing of Stephon Clark, 22.

Police shot him about 20 times on Sunday night while responding to reports of break-ins in the area.

Officers said they thought Mr Clark, who was black, had a gun, but only a mobile phone was found at the scene.

Sacramento police said the officers were chasing a reported thief who damaged three vehicles in the neighbourhood.

The suspect was seen from a helicopter breaking the glass door of a house before hopping over a fence next door.

Police confronted and killed Mr Clark, a father-of-two, in the backyard of his grandmother's home.

Body camera footage shows it was dark as officers ordered him to show his hands before opening fire as they shouted: "Gun, gun, gun!"

Each officer shot 10 bullets, according to the Sacramento Police Department.

The local Black Lives Matter group organised Thursday's demonstration.

Sacramento police told local media that the two responding officers are now receiving death threats.

They were named on Friday by a lawyer based in Oakland, California.

Black Lives Matter called on police to fire them, and for prosecutors to charge them with murder.

After the release of the video on Wednesday night, protesters marched into Sacramento city hall at 15:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Protesters started at City Hall before moving to the motorway and lastly the basketball match
The demonstrators then marched to Interstate 5, reportedly standing in front of vehicles chanting: "Don't shoot, it's a cell phone."

The motorway was blocked in both directions and caused mile-long traffic jams.

The protesters then moved to the Golden 1 Centre, where the Sacramento Kings were scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks at 19:00.

Arena security teams blocked entrance to the stadium, leaving protesters and ticket holders outside.

Forty minutes after the planned start time, the Kings announced they would not allow in any more spectators.

Only about 2,000 of 17,000 ticket holders managed to take their seats before the game began after a delay.

Police in riot gear arrived at the arena shortly after the protesters.

While some at the arena expressed support for the protests, others were angry at the disruption.

Fermin Rodriguez, who brought his wife and children to the game, told the Sacramento Bee of his disappointment.

"I feel their pain, but why do we have to suffer as well? We paid a lot of money for these tickets. I hope they give us a refund."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

China, Cameroon Agree to Further Advance Relationship
Published: 2018/3/23 8:19:27

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcome ceremony for visiting Cameroonian President Paul Biya before their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 22, 2018. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

China and Cameroon on Thursday agreed to give full play to their sound friendship and great potential for cooperation to further advance bilateral relationship.

The statement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Cameroonian counterpart Paul Biya at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Calling Biya "a senior African leader and an old friend of China," Xi said Cameroon is an important partner of China in Africa.

The two countries have respected each other, treated each other equally and supported each other on issues concerning core interest and major concerns since the two forged diplomatic ties 47 years ago, said Xi.

Biya is the first African president to visit China this year and the first foreign head of state to visit after the annual sessions of China's National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Xi called on China and Cameroon to maintain exchanges at all levels and continue to support each other on core interests and major concerns.

China supports Cameroon in choosing its own path of development and speeding up its process of industrialization, said Xi.

China encourages the two countries to expand trade and enhance cooperation in major areas, and more Chinese enterprises to invest there, he said.

He also called on both countries to intensify people-to-people exchanges.

China is ready to work with Cameroon in the areas of peace, security and international affairs to protect the interests of African countries and other developing countries, Xi told Biya.

He encourages Cameroon to take an active part in China's Belt and Road Initiative and work with China to promote the construction of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future.

China has upheld justice and pursued shared interests and built relations with Africa based on sincerity, affinity and good faith, he said.

China would always stand by developing countries and be their sincere friend and reliable partner, no matter how the international situation changed or how China developed, Xi told Biya.

Biya said China's long-term assistance to Cameroon has promoted Cameroon's economic and social development and directly benefited Cameroonian people.

Cameroon is committed to enhancing strategic cooperation with China and welcomes more investment from China in industry, agriculture, energy, transportation, housing and new technology, he said.

Cameroon spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative and supported cooperation within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Biya said.

He said that Cameroon firmly adheres to the one-China policy and is willing to cooperate with China within in the United Nations and other multilateral frameworks.

After the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of agreements on economic and technological cooperation, human resources development, infrastructural construction and industrial cooperation.

Biya is paying a state visit to China from Thursday to Saturday at the invitation of Xi. 
China Readies as Trump's Trade War Plan Spells Failure
Global Times
Published: 2018/3/23 7:27:02

US President Donald Trump signed an executive memo on Thursday, imposing up to $60 billion in tariffs against Chinese imports and investment restrictions on technology transfer and acquisitions by China. This is the biggest trade action that the Trump administration has instituted, with a massive scale that is rarely seen, even among the history of international trade conflicts.

Though the news arrived at midnight in Beijing, the Chinese government is expected to respond quickly to defend the country's legitimate trade rights. Public opinions have indicated that China will begin by targeting soybeans and other agricultural products imported from the US as retaliation.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that the two countries should not start trade war. She said that if China is forced into this situation, it will neither be afraid nor avoid it. It is fair to say that they are not diplomatic language. Instead, they should be taken as the united voice of the Chinese people that they will not be bullied.

The Trump administration has apparently misjudged this situation, due to its wrongful interpretation of a key few factors. First, the US government is wrongfully taking its own economic hardships out its trade relationship with China. Second, it is overestimating its ability to adjust international trade in the market economy's private sectors, as well as its advantage in a trade war with China. Finally, it has underestimated China's resolve regarding retaliatory measures, and it has not fully considered the price it will pay by starting this trade war.

There is an old, but very applicable Chinese proverb that states that "The self-conceited troops are destined to lose." This trade war is akin to the Trump administration "playing with fire" and it will end in disaster for the US.

Trump's attempts to impose tariffs and solve trade imbalance problems, while also reviving the American economy, is an incredibly short-sighted solution that the American people largely disagree with. In fact, the tariffs have been met with a major outcry from American citizens and businesses alike. To a certain extent, it appears that this trade war is desired and waged solely by President Trump and his team, while lacking the rest of the country's support.

China is now being forced to fight back in this trade war. China's society is highly united, and this will be reflected in its actions as the trade war comes into effect. China's residents possess a level of endurance that the US cannot compete with.

Any trade war will only lead to a lose-lose situation. While both China and the US are economically resilient, one will invariably fail and that will result in political backlash. The Chinese people and American public will blame President Trump for the turmoil both countries will have experienced. Additionally, the Trump administration, along with the GOP, will suffer in the US' future midterm and presidential elections. The trade war will be used as a major example of Trump's failures if he seeks reelection.

China is a powerful nation and a force to be reckoned with, meaning that China will not abide deception and will not be taken advantage of. In other words, the US should not fool itself into thinking that China can be pressured to fold under such tactics.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that China's consumer market has surpassed that of the US and it is still expanding at a rapid pace. If a trade war were to take place, the two countries would be matched regarding the other's strengths and capabilities.

Solving the trade deficit between the US and China is a complicated matter, requiring both sides to set aside its differences and work together. If the Trump administration is irrational enough to think a trade war will provide them some level of profitability, they are destined to fail.

Many analysts have interpreted Thursday's memo as Trump's way of intimidating and sidelining China. This tariff is just a new way to flex his muscles at the world, but he has no more leverage over China than his predecessors have had. China is on a level playing field with the US in many respects, and its consumer market shows signs of even besting the US in some areas. Trump's famous temper tantrums indicates that his image is an act and that he is one of the most lackluster US presidents.

Washington should dismiss the idea that China will concede in this trade war because it will find no white flags to mark China's surrender. Instead, Washington will charge blindly into a bullfighter's red cape.
China Has Various Options for Hitting Back at US on Trade
By Wang Weiwei
Global Times
Published: 2018/3/22 21:53:40

US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imports from various countries, but has granted Canada, Mexico and Australia immunity. The tariff order also allows any country with a security relationship with the US to hold discussions, with the possibility of further exemptions. But Trump has been more and more aggressive in his trade measures toward China.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration asked China to cut its trade surplus by $100 billion. Several days later, Trump talked of a $60 billion annual tariff plan for Chinese products. The US leader's tendency to tie economic interests and security together to exert pressure on China is becoming clearer. But China can deal with the US measures and the threat of a trade war in various ways.

The first would be to increase imports and exports between the two countries in order to use cooperation to resolve the various issues. Exports were one of the main drivers of China's economic recovery in 2017 and an important source of employment. China's exports will be affected in the short term by the escalation of US trade sanctions, which will impact the Chinese economy. China could use cooperation to defuse the conflict by increasing trade between the two countries, for instance by expanding its opening-up in services, manufacturing and commodities. And the US could relax its controls on exports of high-tech, high-value-added products to China.

Second, multilateral organisations and a dispute settlement mechanism could be used to put pressure on the US. China can improve regional economic cooperation via the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while countering the US within the framework of the WTO.

China could also set up an international dispute settlement mechanism to resolve trade rows. With the expansion of China's trade and investment, the country's economic development has become more integrated with the world economy, and a dispute settlement mechanism could help in solving any problems.

Third, there is the issue of security. The US uses its national security as a pretext for keeping other countries in check, and takes advantage of hot issues such as North Korea's nuclear program to gain political support and obtain economic benefits. As a growing power, China is also a key player in major regional issues. Therefore, China could also use security issues as a bargaining chip to check the US measures.

In response to the US' leveraging of the alliance system, China should recognize that the main intention of the US in the short term may be to transfer attention away from domestic problems and earn some political capital for Trump. In this regard, China can wait and assess the impact of the situation, and can take the quiet approach.

The fourth option is to respond directly to the protectionist policies of the US. China has made it clear that it does not want a trade war, but it will respond in a legitimate and necessary way if a trade war is triggered. The US has taken the lead on trade penalties and expanding the scope of sanctions, but China has ways to counter the US protectionist policy.

There is a significant trade surplus for China in the fields of electronics and electrical equipment, but there is also a significant deficit in trade of agricultural products, transport equipment and services. China's imports of agricultural products, leather and aircraft account for a significant portion of US exports. Therefore, these sectors could be targeted if China wanted to impose its own trade sanctions on the US.

The author is a postdoctoral researcher with the School of International Studies at Peking University.
China Plans to Impose Tariffs on US Imports to Offset its Loss: MOFCOM
Global Times
Published: 2018/3/23 9:26:55

The Chinese Ministry of Finance (MOFCOM) announced Friday morning it will impose tariffs on US imports worth $3 billion in a bid to offset its loss incurred by the US' decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The products include seven categories and cover 128 types of products, according to a statement on the website of the MOFCOM.

The ministry plans to impose 15 percent tariff on 120 types of products, like fruits, nuts, wine and seamless tubes, worth $977 million. A 25 percent tariff will be imposed on products that include pork and recycled aluminum products.

A MOFCOM spokesperson was quoted as saying in the statement that the US is citing the excuse of national security by imposing 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs on its steel and aluminum product imports.

In line with WTO rules, China decided on a list for suspension of concessions.

If China and the US can't reach trade compensation agreements, China will impose tariffs on the first part of the list of products, the spokesperson noted, adding that tariffs will be imposed on the second part after evaluating the US' influence on China.

China reserves its right to adjust the tariff measures in accordance with practical situations and will fulfill necessary produces in line with WTO rules, according to the spokesperson.

MOFCOM also said it will take legal actions under the WTO framework, safeguarding the stability and authority of a multilateral trade system together with other WTO members.

On Friday morning (Beijing time), US President Donald Trump announced the US will impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods over "intellectual property theft."

The Chinese Embassy in the US said "It is a typical unilateral trade protectionist action. China is strongly disappointed and firmly opposes such an action."

The US persisted in conducting the "301 investigation" and announced relevant trade measures. The US is ignoring rational voices and disregarding the mutually-beneficial nature of China-US trade relations, along with the consensus reached by the two countries of managing differences constructively through consultations, said a statement on its website Friday.

"But China is not afraid of and will not recoil from a trade war. China is confident and capable of facing any challenge. If a trade war were initiated by the US, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures," said a statement released by the Chinese Embassy.

Global Times
China 'Firmly Opposes' US Tariffs and Would Fight 'to the End’
Published: 2018/3/23 8:55:48

China is "strongly disappointed and firmly opposes" the US plan for imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, the Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement on Friday.

The statement said China will fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with "all necessary measures."

US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion US dollars of imports from China, following a Section 301 investigation under the US Trade Act.

The embassy said China is confident and capable of facing any challenge and will not recoil from a trade war.

"We urged the US to cease and desist, make cautious decisions, and avoid placing China-US trade relations in danger," the statement said. 
US in Need of Rational Voice on China
By Zhang Tengjun
Global Times
Published: 2018/3/21 19:03:40

A recent essay in Foreign Affairs magazine has ignited a debate on whether US policy on China has been a failure. Former US government officials Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner say in "The China Reckoning" that Washington should give up its "hopeful thinking that has long characterized the US' approach to China" to deal with "its most dynamic and formidable competitor in modern history."

The discussion is actually a continuation of the China policy debate back in 2015, when the view that Sino-US relations were reaching a tipping point gained ground in Washington. In the report "Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China" published by the Council on Foreign Relations, the authors said, "China represents and will remain the most significant competitor of the US for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent US response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue."

Looking back at ties with Beijing over the past century, the US has had three major debates on its China policy. The first argument took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the White House misjudged China's domestic situation and vacillated between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang party.

After the CPC won the civil war and founded the People's Republic of China, the "Who Lost China?" debate intensified across the US, directly prompting Washington to formulate policy to contain Beijing.

The second debate occurred in the early 1970s. Amid the Cold War, there was a call for Washington to cooperate with Beijing in its anti-Soviet campaign. With the efforts of then US president Richard Nixon and top diplomat Henry Kissinger, the US and China made a historic breakthrough in ties, laying the foundation for the US' engagement with China.

The third discussion is what's happening right now. There's a voice that says the US failed to realize the goal of leading China onto the path of economic liberalization and political reform despite its decades-long effort to make Beijing part of the Washington-dominated international system. Neither the "carrot" nor the "stick" could force China to do what the US wanted. Therefore, it's unavoidable that the US should adopt a thorough strategy change.

That the Trump administration slammed China as a "new imperialist power" just caters to American strategists' attitude toward the nation. In their eyes, China not only reaps the benefit in economy and trade offered by the US, but also penetrates its society with sharp power. What worries them most is that the development model used by China has attracted worldwide attention and many countries begin to learn from it, posing a huge threat to the Western model.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the West has been mired in an existential crisis.

As Beijing marches toward its goal of building a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020 and fulfilling the dream of national rejuvenation, Washington desperately needs a rebirth to "make America great again."

The goals of the two nations should not be exclusive, but many in the US still look at bilateral relations with a Cold-War mind-set.

Policy should be evaluated rationally, and should not be based on subjective assumptions. Actually, the US' current China policy, which is full of chinks, cannot stand scrutiny. For a long time, Washington has had a naive illusion toward Beijing, assuming that it must obey the US government. It's hegemonic logic.

Moreover, a great many Americans have a natural rancor for and fear of China's political system. Given their ideological stereotypes, they don't think the US can peacefully co-exist with China. That's why the development path with Chinese characteristics is labeled "a challenge to the Western world."

The heated debate on China policy has also come as a distraction from the intractable problems inside the US. It's easy for any US political party to reach consensus on China. Currently, a moderate and rational voice on China is almost missing in the US, a sad fact we have to accept.

American strategists should know that the US and China have come to be close partners and only dialogue and cooperation are the way out of problems. The world's largest power can hardly circumvent China on its way to "make America great again."

The author is an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.
Protests Planned as NAACP Meets With Police Chief Over Stephon Clark Shooting
March 22, 2018 10:27 AM

Local NAACP chapter president Betty Williams will meet with Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn on Thursday amidst rising tensions stemming from the shooting of Stephon Clark on Sunday, video of which was released Wednesday afternoon.

The NAACP released a statement Wednesday condemning the police's role in the 22-year-old's death Sunday, when two officers fired a combined 20 shots at Clark shortly before 9:30 p.m. in his grandparents' backyard. They believed Clark had a gun, though a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department deputy in a helicopter had previously described him breaking into nearby property with a "tool bar." A rose gold iPhone was the only item found near Clark's body.

"While we respect the role of (SPD) in our community ... these shooting(s) have angered, frustrated and frighten(ed) people in our community," the statement said. "We are also frustrated with the justice system which fails to indict such killings. We are a community experiencing post-traumatic stress and as such the community and police relations(hip) remains one of mistrust."

Sacramento Area Congregations Together said it is planning a 3 p.m. protest Thursday at City Hall. A candlelight vigil is also scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at 29th Street and Meadowview Road, near where Clark was shot.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday he has been in contact with Clark's family and plans on traveling to Sacramento sometime in the next week.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tweeted about Clark's death Thursday morning, joining a group of celebrities including rapper/actor Common, former Sacramento Kings guard Doug Christie, activist Shaun King, U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo and actress Wanda Sykes.
Police Shoot, Kill Unarmed Black Man In His Grandmother’s Backyard
March 22, 2018 at 11:47 am

(CNN) — Sacramento police officers shot and killed a black man in his grandmother’s backyard because they believed he was pointing a gun at them, police said.

But investigators say they did not find a weapon at the scene, only a cell phone near the man’s body.

The fatal shooting of Stephon Clark on Sunday night was recorded by two officers’ body cameras and from a police helicopter; that footage was released Wednesday.

The videos show a brief encounter between police and Clark, lasting less than a minute, from the moment one of the officers spotted him in the driveway and yelled, “Hey, show me your hands. Stop. Stop.”

In the dark, the two police officers chased Clark into the backyard of his grandmother’s home.

“Show me your hands!” one of the officers yelled. “Gun, gun, gun.”

Then police opened fire. Clark crumpled to the ground, momentarily tried to crawl before falling motionless as more shots erupted around him.

His death has caused outrage among residents who say that the officers should be held accountable for his death. Police have said the officers fired only because they thought their lives were at stake.

As more police arrived at the scene, someone is heard asking “What did he have on him?”

An officer responded, “Like this, something in his hands. It looked like a gun from our perspective.”

Minutes after the shooting, as more officers arrive on the scene, a voice is heard saying, “Hey, mute,” and the audio on the body camera cuts off.

Clark’s grandmother said she was inside the house when the shots were fired and saw him with an iPhone.

“He was right there dead. I told the officers, you guys are murderers, murderers, murderers,” she told the Sacramento Bee.

What police say happened

The incident began on Sunday after 9 p.m., when Sacramento officers responded to a report that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. The man was described as 6-foot-1, thin and wearing a black hoodie and pants, police said in a statement.

Officers arrived and were aided by a team in a Sacramento Sheriff’s Department helicopter. Police said the helicopter personnel observed that the suspect had picked up a “toolbar” and broken a window to a residence. The helicopter team observed the man running and looking into another car, police said. The helicopter then guided officers to the man’s location in the backyard of a home.

The camera from the helicopter showed a man running through a backyard and hopping a fence into another yard. The aerial footage captured the moment when two officers began heading towards him.

Officers arrived at the front yard and gave the man commands to stop and show his hands, according to police. The man immediately fled to the backyard, police said, and they pursued him.

At that point, the man “turned and advanced toward the officers while holding an object” extended in front of him, according to police.

“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons, striking the suspect multiple times,” the police news release states.

The body camera footage is dark and shaky. The helicopter pivots, blocking the aerial view of Clark and the two police officers in the brief seconds leading up to gunfire.

The officers fired 20 times at Clark and he was hit multiple times, police told CNN affiliate KOVR. Officers then handcuffed Clark and began life-saving efforts, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two officers involved in the shooting have two and four years’ experience with the Sacramento police, and both have four years’ prior experience with other agencies. The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave amid a use of force investigation.

Police said detectives canvassing the neighborhood found at least three vehicles with damage they say they believe Clark caused, as well as an adjacent residence with a shattered sliding glass door. Deputies in the helicopter had witnessed him shatter the door, police said.

Stevante Clark, the victim’s brother, told HLN that his brother “wasn’t a thief.”

“He was arrested before, but he’s been different lately, he really changed his life. He was a people-person who everybody wanted to be around. We came from underprivileged, broken homes, but he didn’t care about nothing else but his kids.”

Family skeptical of police version

Stevante Clark said on HLN that his priority right now wasn’t a possible lawsuit or body camera footage, but focusing on Clark’s two young children.

“I just want to make sure his kids go to school, my mom is good, and he gets buried in a way where we don’t have to worry — the nicest funeral,” he said.

He said he and his mother did not plan to watch body camera video of his brother’s shooting, but he expressed skepticism about the police version of what happened.

“They said he had a gun. Then they said he had a crowbar. Then they said he had a toolbar. Now I’m asking you, you’ve got a nice job, you sound pretty smart. What is a toolbar?” he said.

“If you lie to me once, I know you’ll lie to me again.”

Rev. Al Sharpton has pledged his support for Clark’s family and said he would be in California to help them fight for justice, according to a statement from his organization.
Stephon Clark: Police Video Shows Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Man
BBC World Service

Police video of the shooting death of Stephon Clark:

California police have released footage showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed man whose phone was apparently mistaken by officers for a gun.

Authorities said they thought Stephon Clark, 22, had a weapon when they shot at him about 20 times on Sunday night.

Sacramento police said a man was seen breaking into at least three vehicles and a neighbour's home.

Bodycam and helicopter footage do not clearly show what Mr Clark was doing before he was shot in his own backyard.

It is dark in the clip, but a figure is seen hopping over a fence and running into a backyard.

Police officers' body cameras show them running along the side of a house to confront the suspect.

Two officers who shot Mr Clark are purportedly heard asking him to show his hands and shouting, "gun, gun, gun", before opening fire.

Police said the suspect approached the officers with an object extended in front of him, which they thought was a handgun.

Footage from the helicopter shows Mr Clark collapsing as officers begin to fire, according to the Sacramento Bee.

One officer suggested disarming him with a non-lethal weapon, but stopped his thought mid-sentence, according to the footage.

"Let's hit him a couple of times with that before we uh...," he is purportedly heard saying.

"What'd he have on him?" one of the officers asked.

"Something in his hands, it looked like a gun from our perspective," an officer responded.

Police approached Mr Clark and a mobile phone can be seen lying near his head. He is handcuffed by the officers.

While discussing whether to perform CPR, one officer said: "Hey, mute". The audio went silent for two minutes.

Mr Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.

His name was not officially released but his fiancee, Salena Manni, identified him. He had two sons, aged one and three.

The shooting has reignited the debate about interactions between law enforcement and African Americans.

The Black Lives Matter Sacramento group issued a public statement calling the shooting a "murder" by police after reviewing the video. They organised a public event in his honour on Thursday.

"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time in his own backyard?" Mr Clark's grandmother, Sequita Thompson, asked the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

The videos were first shown to the family before they were released to the public.

Police training expert Ed Obayashi told the newspaper that the officers' actions were "reasonable".

"It looks bad, but (the officers) are still perceiving a threat... he's not obeying," said Mr Obayashi.

"The problem is he's got an object in his hand which unfortunately even during daylight could easily be considered a gun."

Ms Thompson, who heard the gunfire, said that she never heard police ask her grandson what he was holding.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the investigation needs to be completed before he could draw any conclusions.

"Based on the videos alone, I cannot second guess the split-second decisions of our officers and I'm not going to do that," the mayor said in an statement to US media.
‘Show Me Your Hands:’ Police Video Shows Murder of Stephon Clark in a Hail of Gunfire
Sacramento Bee

March 21, 2018 03:49 PM

Video of police killing of Stephon Clark

Sacramento police fatally shot Stephon Clark on Sunday night within seconds of encountering him next to his grandparents’ home in south Sacramento, video released Wednesday by the department shows.

About six minutes after the shooting, after backup arrives, an officer can be heard telling another officer, “hey mute.”

Sound then cuts out as officers apparently turn off their microphones. But video continues and the officers can be seen speaking to each other and to at least one civilian on scene for about two more minutes before the video ends.

“We asked, ‘Can they do that,’” said Les Simmons, a pastor and social activist in Sacramento who viewed the footage with two of Clark’s family members Wednesday afternoon prior to its public release. “They all just muted their mics. … It was a moment of, what are they doing? What are they saying?”

The Sacramento Police Department has released helicopter footage of the Stephon Clark shooting where officers fatally shot the unarmed black man who was holding his cellphone in his grandparents' backyard. Sacramento Police Department

Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler said, “There are a variety of reasons why officers have the opportunity to mute their body worn cameras.”

Chandler referred a Sacramento Bee reporter to the department's general orders for details.

Simmons and Clark’s aunt, Saquoia Durham, said after viewing the videos that they believe the fatality could have been avoided.

"As soon as they did the command, they started shooting. They said 'put your hands up, gun' and then they just let loose on my nephew,” said Durham.

"They didn’t give him a chance to put his hands up or anything, and then when they shot him down, they knew they messed up,” she said.

The release by the Sacramento police Wednesday included two audio and three video recordings of the fatal shooting of Clark by two officers in Meadowview, a working class neighborhood that has historically had uneasy relations with law enforcement.

Clark was unarmed and holding only a cellphone.

The videos include body camera footage from the two officers involved in the shooting, each of whom fired 10 shots at Clark, according to the department. The officers have not yet been identified, but Chandler said the names would be released within 10 days. The department also said more video from other responding officers would also be released soon.

Included in the videos was aerial footage captured by a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helicopter. It's the first time Sheriff Scott Jones has released video in an officer-involved shooting.

In a frenetic sequence that lasts about 10 seconds, police chase Clark into the backyard of his grandparents' home, where he had been staying on and off for a month, yelling at him to "show me your hands. Stop. Stop."

Clark rounds the corner into the dark area and runs toward a covered patio at the far side. He can‘t be seen for a moment from overhead while the helicopter circles to a different position, and the body camera footage is dark.

One officer yells, “Show me your hands. Gun,” and quickly ducks back behind the wall for cover. In the bodycam footage, it appears the second officer may be pulling his partner to cover.

Then Clark can be seen taking a few steps toward officers as one officer moves into the backyard again.

The officer yells, “Show me your hands. Gun, gun, gun,” before both officers fire a rapid barrage of shots.

Both officers are illuminating the scene with what appears to be flashlights attached to their weapons. Neither identifies themselves as a police officer.

The overhead video shows one of the first shots hit Clark, sending him crawling on his hands and knees away from the backdoor of the house, before more than 15 additional bullets go flying from their chambers.

Police training expert Ed Obayashi said after viewing some of the video that the shooting was "reasonable" and that firing so many shots was standard procedure.

“It looks bad, but (the officers) are still perceiving a threat,” said Obayashi. “He's not obeying. He's running from them. He suddenly turns. The problem is he‘s got an object in his hand which unfortunately even during daylight could easily be considered a gun.”

Simmons said he believed it was “a lack of proper training to handle a situation like this.”

“Even if he did what they say was done, at the end of the day it does not justify his life being taken,” said Simmons.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he had reviewed the videos as well.

“Based on the videos alone, I cannot second guess the split-second decisions of our officers and I’m not going to do that,” Steinberg said in an emailed statement. “The investigation must be completed. We need more information in addition to the video before we can render any final conclusions. The questions raised by the community and councilmembers are appropriate and must be answered during the investigation. For instance, what are the protocols regarding use of force and for rendering emergency aid during officer involved shootings?”

After Clark is shot and lying face down on the ground, one officer tells the other to do a “tactical reload” in case more force is needed. Both officers assure one another that they have not been hit.

“He's still down; he's not moving,” one adds a little later. “We can't see the gun.”

The officers then wait for about six minutes for backup – guns drawn – before Clark is approached for aid. In the interim, another officer can be heard saying “go get a non-lethal” weapon, and “hit him” with it, apparently to ensure Clark was not an armed threat before approaching.

“He came up and he, he kind of approached us, hands out, and then fell down,” one of the involved officers says as more officers arrive.

Once officers do approach Clark, he can be seen lying on the concrete with a white iPhone nearby. Officers handcuff him and begin CPR, sending an officer to get a safety mask before beginning.

Soon after, an officer arriving on the scene tells one of the officers who fired shots to turn off his microphone, and the audio ends.

The videos were released Wednesday afternoon after police met with Clark‘s family members to allow them to view the materials first. Simmons was also present.

Allowing family to see such videos before they are released to the public is part of a city policy adopted in late 2016 by the city of Sacramento after the fatal shooting by police of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill black man. Mann's shooting led to major reforms in the department, including a requirement that all patrol officers wear body cameras.

The reforms also require police to release videos in “critical incidents” such as officer-involved shootings and deaths in custody within 30 days of the event. Sacramento police Chief Daniel Hahn, the city's first African American chief, has been releasing videos more quickly than the requirement and for a broader range of events than covered by the new law since taking over the department last summer.

The sequence of events leading to Clark's death began on the night of March 18 when police received a call about a man breaking car windows and hiding in a backyard in the 7500 block of 29th Street.

Police dispatched ground units, and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department responded with a helicopter. Deputies in the helicopter reported seeing a man in a backyard pick up an object described as a "tool bar" and break a window. The helicopter video does not include this. Chandler said the unit did not begin filming until after this occurred.

Police later said the man in the backyard broke the rear sliding glass door of the home, then discarded the "tool bar."

Chandler said investigators retrieved a cinder block and a piece of aluminum similar to the kind that would be used for a rain gutter near the broken sliding glass door. Both items were taken into evidence though Chandler said it was uncertain if either was the "tool bar" seen by airborne officers.

Chandler said the man then ran south and jumped a fence into the adjoining property. That property is where Clark's grandparents live. It's just prior to this that the helicopter video begins.

The object ultimately determined to be what police saw in Clark's hand was a cellphone his girlfriend and mother of his two children, Salena Manni, had loaned him. It was in a rose gold-colored case with a black clip on the back for holding items like credit cards, she said.

The shooting has become a focal point for community activists who have continued to campaign for more reforms after the Mann shooting. It has also garnered national attention and likely will draw more. The Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday he has been in touch with Clark's family and plans on traveling to Sacramento to "fight for justice and to ensure (Clark) has a proper burial," according to a statement to The Bee.

Clark's family has started a GoFundMe page to fund funeral expenses.

"This is an unfortunate moment," said community activist Berry Accius. "This moment is probably going to set us back. … We got transparency. Now we need accountability. We can't get that young man back."
Police Shot At a Man 20 Times In His Own Yard, Thinking He Had a Gun: It Was an iPhone.
By Alex Horton and Wesley Lowery March 22 at 1:14 PM
Washington Post

How the Stephon Clark shooting unfolded

Body camera and helicopter footage provides more information of the night Sacramento police shot and killed Stephon Clark, a father of two. (Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)

Police say they saw an object in Stephon Clark’s hand before they fired 20 bullets that killed him in his back yard Sunday night in Sacramento, a disturbing moment that was made public through body camera footage released Wednesday night.

The two officers were responding to a 911 call about a man breaking vehicle windows when they encountered, then killed, Clark, an unarmed black man.

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 and shout: “Show me your hands! Stop! Stop!”

Clark is seen running, and the two officers round the corner of the house and find him under a covered patio.

An infrared camera on an overhead helicopter briefly loses sight of Clark.

“Show me your hands! Gun!” an officer shouts and ducks 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 steps toward the officers. Behind the wall, one of the officers issues another command. “Show me your hands!” And then: “Gun, gun, gun!”

Both officers open fire. Sparks from the bullets light up the helicopter’s infrared camera in sharp white pops.

The sequence, from the first glimpse of Clark on the patio to the first gunshot, unfolds in about six seconds.

The officers are never heard identifying themselves as police before fatally shooting Clark.

The gun officers thought Clark had in his hand was actually a white iPhone.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time in his own back yard?” his grandmother, Sequita Thompson, told the Sacramento Bee. “C’mon, now, they didn’t have to do that.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has spoken with Clark’s mother and plans to travel to California to meet with the family, said in a statement: “It is an atrocity that an unarmed young man was shot at 20 times in his own backyard and shows the urgent need in these times for intervention against police misconduct.”

Sharpton added: “We will call for a complete and thorough investigation into this young man’s death.”

The Sacramento Police Department said the man they believed was breaking windows was the same man the officers killed in a hail of gunfire, identified by the 911 caller as a thin 6-foot male wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

Police have yet to identify Clark as the suspect or victim.

But Thompson and other relatives identified him to media using variations of his name, Stephon and Stephan. (Public records list him as Stephon Clark, 22.)

Thompson disputes the police department’s version of events.

Her grandson was short, not 6 feet, she said in a video produced by the Bee. She believes another suspect was smashing windows, and that Clark was in the back yard at the wrong time.

Their doorbell is broken, and relatives often tap on the back window for someone to open the garage door, the family told the newspaper. Clark was staying at his grandmother’s home at the time he was killed.

The gunfire startled her that night, she told the Bee.

“The only thing that I heard was pow, pow, pow, pow, and I got to the ground,” she said in the Bee’s video.

She said she began to suspect the police description of a dead person in her yard was a member of the family.

“I told the officers, ‘You guys are murderers. Murderers,’ ” Thompson cried out. “You took him away from his kids.”

The family said Clark had two young sons, Cairo and Aiden, and a fiancee, Salena Manni, the Associated Press reported.

Thompson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The narrative of the Sunday night shooting released by authorities tells a short, grim story.

The helicopter observed a suspect picking up a “toolbar” and breaking a window to a house after 9 p.m. Sunday night.

The Bee reported it was the sliding glass door belonging to a neighbor.

Authorities said the suspect then ran and looked into a car.

Police in the helicopter guided officers on the ground to the front yard of Thompson’s house as Clark was coming from the back.

They met in the middle, and soon Clark was dead.

“Prior to the shooting, the involved officers saw the suspect facing them, advance forward with his arms extended, and holding an object in his hands,” police said in a statement. “At the time of the shooting, the officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms. The only items found near the suspect was a cell phone.”

An analysis by The Washington Post found that 987 people were killed by police last year — 68 of them unarmed. Of those unarmed victims, 30 were white, 20 were black and 13 were Hispanic, showing an overrepresentation of African Americans among the total U.S. population. Five of the remaining fatalities were of unknown or other race.

At least 230 people have been killed by police this year, according to The Post’s database on fatal force.

“I know there could have been another way; he didn’t have to die,” Clark’s brother Stevante told CBS News.

“You’re going to know his name forever,” he added before reciting the names of several black men who were killed by police: “You’re going to remember it, like, how you know … Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. You’re going to know him. You’re going to remember this.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg offered his condolences to Clark’s family and said in a statement that he was “heartbroken” for the city.

“The questions raised by the community and council members are appropriate and must be answered during the investigation,” Steinberg said, though he noted that he had reviewed the police videos carefully and said: “Based on the videos alone, I cannot second-guess the split-second decisions of our officers and I’m not going to do that.”

Clark is at least the sixth person shot and killed by the Sacramento Police Department since the beginning of 2015, according to a Post analysis: Five of them were black men; the other, a white man.

The October 2015 shooting of Adriene Ludd and the September 2017 shooting of Eric Arnold were the only two of the six fatal Sacramento police shootings in which the person killed was armed with a gun.

Police say Ludd fled after a traffic stop and fired at officers before he was killed.

Arnold, a suspect in a double homicide, shot two police officers before he was shot and killed.

Matt Coates was holding a plastic BB gun when he was shot and killed in May 2015; his girlfriend would later tell reporters that she had told the officers that the gun wasn’t real. In two of the cases — the fatal shootings of Dazion Flenaugh and Joseph Mann — Sacramento police killed people alleged to have been armed with a knife.

Clark, it appears, was unarmed.

How many times Clark was shot is unknown, authorities said, pending the investigation. The officers are on paid administrative leave as the probe unfolds, officials said.

Detective Eddie Macauley of the Sacramento Police said Wednesday he was unsure what model of weapon the officers used, or if the 10 rounds each of them fired was the entire capacity of their magazines.

The police said five minutes passed before responding officers arrived to cuff Clark and render first aid, which ultimately proved futile: He died at the scene.

That timeline is not precise, according to the footage. Five minutes and 16 seconds pass between the radio call of shots fired and when officers snap on the cuffs. Several more seconds pass before someone on scene begins chest compressions.

A single sentence of department guidance on providing medical attention to suspects reads: “Officers shall provide first aid to injured parties if it can be done safely.”

Some factors may affect how and if police render aid to someone they shoot, such as if they are resisting or if police think a weapon is present, said Macauley, the police detective.

In the video, the officers did not appear to be fearful of an attack once Clark was down.

He wasn’t moving, an officer notes. One officer, showing no clear urgency to replenish his ammunition, waits a minute and a half before he reloads.

“Sir, can you move?” an arriving officer calls into the night at Clark, minutes after the shooting, telling him they cannot help unless they know he does not have a weapon.

Police allowed Clark’s family to review the body camera video before it was publicly released — part of a departmental policy change, according to the Bee:

Allowing family to see such videos before they are released to the public is part of a city policy adopted in late 2016 by the city of Sacramento after the fatal shooting by police of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill black man. Mann’s shooting led to major changes in the department, including a requirement that all patrol officers wear body cameras.

The changes also require police to release videos in “critical incidents” such as officer-involved shootings and deaths in custody within 30 days of the event. Sacramento police Chief Daniel Hahn, the city’s first African American chief, has been releasing videos more quickly than the requirement and for a broader range of events than covered by the new law since taking over the department last summer.

“As soon as they did the command, they started shooting,” Clark’s aunt Saquois Durham told the Bee. “They said ‘Put your hands up, gun,’ and then they just let loose on my nephew.”

Said Les Simmons, a pastor and community activist: “Even if he did what they say was done, at the end of the day it does not justify his life being taken.”

Simmons called into question what was left off the released video, particularly at the end.

Before the video concludes, the two officers walk to the street, nearly seven minutes after the shooting.

Shimmering red and blue lights silhouette an approaching group of officers. Their faces are blurred.

“Hey mute?” an officer says. The audio goes silent, and shortly after, the videos end.

 Alex Horton is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. He previously covered the military and national security for Stars and Stripes, and served in Iraq as an Army infantryman.  Follow @AlexHortonTX

Wesley Lowery is a national correspondent covering law enforcement, justice and their intersection with politics and policy for The Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics. In 2015, he was a lead reporter on the "Fatal Force" project awarded the Pulitzer Prize and George Polk award.  Follow @WesleyLowery