Rory Tingle, Daily Mail, March 29 2018
The grief-stricken older brother of Stephon Clark has clashed with Don Lemon during an uncomfortable live interview on Wednesday night about his unarmed sibling’s death at the hands of Sacramento cops.
Clark, 25, repeated ‘say his name, say his name’ as the CNN anchor asked him to talk about his brother, a 22-year-old father-of-two, and hit out against the media for ‘following us everywhere we go’.
Lemon said ‘I know you are in grief’ before Clark moved on to discuss how he had teamed up with Sacramento’s mayor to build a library and recreation center in his sibling’s memory.
Stevante Clark, 25, repeated ‘say his name, say his name’ as the CNN anchor asked how his family were coping following his brother’s death, before turning his fire on the media for ‘following us everywhere we go’
The interview began with Lemon asking, ‘How are you holding up right now?’ promoting Clark to ring a bell in the studio and say, ‘great question’.
‘I am not in grief,’ he said, before adding, ‘the media keeps following us everywhere we go’.
As Lemon tried to interrupt he continued, ‘What the media do is swarm on people with grief… They ruin their lives forever’.
The host said: ‘Can you let me get a word in please. Listen, I have to manage the time here so that we can get something out of this interview because a lot of people are watching.’
Lemon then said, ‘Talk about your brother please’, prompting Clark to answer, ‘Say his name, say his name’.
After several more disjointed exchanges Lemon closed the interview and said: ‘Thank you so much for joining us and my heart goes out for you. Thank you.’
Several moments later when Clark was off screen, Lemon told viewers: ‘Maybe it was just a little too soon for him to be on television. I hope his family gets justice and he’s welcome back on.’
This is the full unedited transcript of Stevante Clark’s interview with Don Lemon live on CNN.
Don Lemon: First let me express my sympathy. How is your family holding up? How are you holding up?
Stevante Clark: Next question.
Lemon: Okay. Obviously you are in grief right now.
Clark: I’m not in grief. Okay. We haven’t slept we haven’t ate. The media follows us everywhere we go. The only person got the message before we came on the air was the mayor. He called me and said he is going to help us build a library and recreational center.
Lemon: The mayor said he is going to help you build a library? And a 24-hour recreational center for the kids.
Clark: Yeah. For everybody. We love everybody. He is going to help me be a part of it. He is going to walk out you know — I’m not even address anymore. Just know that I’m going to be real connected. We’re working with each other. We’re going to work with each other. I love my city. I did this for my city. We are the example how to do it right. The media waits until the loved ones dies swarm that person. Put them in grief. They ruin their lives forever. Their lives are never the same. I’m not blaming the media. But the way you guys treat us, you guys, I told you I stopped calling.
Lemon: Can you let me get a word in please. Listen, I have to manage the time here so that we can get something out of this interview because a lot of people are watching. Your brother’s story will be told. The media is giving you a platform… tell me about your brother, please.
Clark: Don lemon say his name.
Lemon: Listen, you’re in grief I’m sorry for that.
Clark: He is not going to say his name. You messed up on the name.
Lemon: Thank you so much for joining us and my heart goes out for you. Thank you.
Twitter users were quick to tweet their sympathies for Clark, and praise Lemon for his sensitive handling of the interview.
James Stanton said: ‘@donlemon Speaking as a mental health professional (M.S.W): excellent handling of the young man tonight. No real choice but to terminate the interview. Thank you.’
Josh M tweeted: ‘The man was clearly overwhelmed with grief. Incredibly saddening.’
Stefan Jonasson said: ‘@donlemon – your grace, decency, firmness, and fairness shines most during the difficult interviews.’
And Janice Holmes added: ‘@donlemon wow …that was so sad. i feel like crying. You handled the potential interview w/ #StephonClark’s brother well.
‘Like every other senseless shooting. I cannot imagine my loved one being shot in my backyard 20 times by the police. 20 times..TWENTY..& only mobile.’
Joshua Janovsky also expressed his sympathies for Clark, but questioned why he was invited onto the show.
He tweeted: ‘@donlemon It was obvious that Stephon Clark’s brother was still dealing with loss.
‘Please reach out to him later, when time has healed him and his family.
‘Please have him on later. I want to hear what he has to say. No one should have to endure what his family is.
Earlier on Wednesday Stevante had to be held back by friends as he screamed at the media outside the wake for his sibling, who was shot 20 times by cops who said they mistook his cellphone for a gun.
Stevante Clark moved towards reporters set up outside the Bayside of South Sacramento church and shouted at them to ‘go away’ because they ‘don’t care’ about his family.
A security guard ran over to intervene before one of Clark’s friends pulled him away towards the church where his family were already gathered.
Several minutes later Clark came back outside to heckle reporters – who were allowed to set up outside a public wake – but was quickly carried away.
A national spotlight has been on Clark’s family since his March 18 shooting by two Sacramento police officers.
Stevante’s confrontation with reporters came a day after he disrupted a city council meeting, jumping on the platform and chanting his brother’s name at Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Clark walked to the public microphone in the middle of council chambers, yelling, ‘Shut the f*** up’ at audience members who he wanted to be quiet.
The protester asked the audience, ‘Do you love me?’ to cries of ‘Yes!’
And as the wake took place, angry protests continued on the streets of the California state capital, with Black Lives Matter activists demonstrating outside the office of Sacramento district attorney Anne Schubert.
Mourners gathered outside the Bayside of South Sacramento church joined their calls for action, with many saying the two police officers who shot Clark should be criminally charged.
‘This feels like the 60s, it doesn’t feel like 2018. We’ve definitely regressed,’ said Cynthia Brown, a friend of Clark’s grandfather who brought her 10- and 15-year-old grandsons to the wake. ‘To me, (they) could be Stephon Clark.’
The Rev. Al Sharpton plans to deliver the eulogy at Clark’s funeral on Thursday.
Tensions remain high in California’s capital city following the March 18 shooting.
Two police officers who were responding to a report of someone breaking car windows fatally shot him in his grandparents’ backyard.
Police say they believe Clark was the suspect and he ran when a police helicopter responded, then did not obey officers’ orders.
Police say they thought Clark was holding a gun when he moved toward them, but he was found only with a cellphone.
Many mourners weren’t buying that narrative.
‘You always feel threatened – you’re a law enforcement officer, it comes with your job title,’ said Rahim Wasi. ‘That doesn’t give you a right to go running around like Clint Eastwood in a movie.’
Some of Clark’s relatives were more conciliatory.
Stephon Clark was remembered as an outgoing, funny, loving, good-looking man who liked to dress sharp and the doting father of two young sons. Pictured: Mourners outside the wake
‘We’re not mad at all the law enforcement. We’re not trying to start a riot,’ said Shernita Crosby, Stephon Clark’s aunt. ‘What we want the world to know is that we got to stop this because black lives matter.’
Cousin Suzette Clark said the family wants Stephon Clark remembered as ‘more than just a hashtag.’
He was outgoing, funny, loving, a good-looking man who liked to dress sharp and the doting father of two young sons.
‘He made some mistakes in his life, but he was genuinely a good person,’ she said.
Protests have been held almost daily and marchers have twice blocked fans from entering the NBA arena downtown for Sacramento Kings games.
There were also protests over Clark’s death in New York, with Black Lives Matter activists carrying banners and chanting slogans through Times Square.
This activist held up a sign saying ‘Stop The Genocide’ during the demonstrations in Sacramento on Wednesday
The police, the Kings and Steinberg’s office met Wednesday to discuss security ahead of Thursday night’s game.
Sgt. Vince Chandler said officers would be ready to respond in protective gear, according to The Sacramento Bee.
On Wednesday, about 50 protesters took over the intersection near the Sacramento district attorney’s office as part of a protest organized by the local Black Lives Matter chapter to urge the district attorney to file charges against the officers.
They disrupted midtown rush hour traffic as they marched through the streets. Latavia Ross, pushing her 2-year-old son Jayceon Hurts in a stroller, said she attended the protest because she thinks it’s good for the community to come together to end to gun violence.
Meanwhile, Steinberg said disruptions like Stevante Clark’s at Tuesday’s council meeting won’t happen again.
‘That sort of demonstration in the council chamber cannot happen again. It won’t happen again. But in that moment, that was a brother grieving for the loss of his brother,’ he said.
For all the angst and raw emotions, some grieving and weary family members are skeptical that any substantive change will result before the next young black man dies from police gunfire and siphons away the national media and banner headlines.
‘You know, sadly, I have no confidence in America and the fact that I will probably hear another story sometime this year of an innocent life lost over excessive police force,’ Curtis Gordon, Clark’s uncle and the family’s spokesman, said on Tuesday. ‘It’s so common, you’re numb to it.’
The California attorney general’s office on Tuesday joined the investigation, a move Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said he hopes will bring ‘faith and transparency’ to a case that he said has sparked ‘extremely high emotions, anger and hurt in our city.’
Security guards surrounded him and seemed to try to lead him out, only to have audience members yell out, ‘Let him speak!’