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Hundreds Of Protesters Delayed An NBA Game After Sacramento Police Shot An Unarmed Black Man

The protest came a day after Sacramento police released video of officers fatally shooting 22-year-old Stephon Clark in his backyard.

Last updated on March 23, 2018, at 1:20 a.m. ET

Posted on March 23, 2018, at 12:09 a.m. ET

Hundreds of protesters incensed by the recent police shooting of an unarmed black man marched through the streets of Sacramento on Thursday, forcing the shut down of a major interstate at rush hour and blocking admission to an NBA game.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Demonstrators marched from Sacramento City Hall to the Golden 1 Center, where they blocked thousands of ticket holders from entering the arena, delaying the Kings vs. Atlanta Hawks game.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The protest came a day after police released video of officers fatally shooting 22-year-old Stephon Clark in his backyard. Officers said they thought Clark had a gun, but no weapon was found at the scene.

Police were responding to a neighbor's call about a possible car burglary when the shooting took place.Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told the Sacramento Bee that he believes Clark was the man a neighbor reported breaking car windows.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Police were responding to a neighbor's call about a possible car burglary when the shooting took place.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told the Sacramento Bee that he believes Clark was the man a neighbor reported breaking car windows.

The protest started in the afternoon at City Hall, where demonstrators chanted and held signs, including a Black Lives Matter banner. They called for the arrest of the two officers involved in the shooting.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

"A phone is not a gun," protesters chanted.

Protestors chanting inside city hall #Sacramento #StephonClark

The protest then moved to Interstate 5 — the main artery linking Northern and Southern California — at the height of rush hour.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The protest temporarily shut down the freeway, snarling traffic.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Then around 6 p.m., protesters descended on the arena.

.@kcranews in #Sacramento reporting protesters have linked arms outside the @Golden1Center before @NBA. No one can get in or out #BlackLivesMatter demands justice for #StephonAlonzoClark https://t.co/GHvhvBI4YM https://t.co/DWcL79f6Ps

Protesters were heard chanting "What's his name? Stephon Clark!" as they surrounded the Golden 1 Center.

SacPd mounted patrol now on scene of Golden One Center and officers forming line around L Street entrance. Crowd chanting “What’s his name?Stephon Clark.” https://t.co/3fICi3mFW5

Arena doors were blocked by protesters and the start of the NBA game was delayed at least 20 minutes.

A birds-eye view of the protest for #StephonClark outside the @Golden1Center. Fans have been told the game is delayed but many think it wil be canceled. https://t.co/KSFOOECZmZ

Sacramento Police announced no one else would be allowed in the arena and refunds would be offered "at a later time."

No one else being allowed into the game tonight. Kings will offer refunds at a later time.

Spokespersons for the Sacramento Police and California Highway Patrol told BuzzFeed News there were no injuries or arrests made during the protests.

The Kings said they would refund the thousands of ticket holders who could not enter the arena for the game.

For the few fans who were in their seats when the game started, arena staff invited them to sit closer to the floor and offered free drinks and snacks, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Barbara Mitchell, a Kings season ticket holder who was unable to enter the arena, told the Sacramento Bee she wasn't upset about the protest.

"I am appalled by what happened to the young man," Mitchell said. "It was a travesty. So as much as I love basketball, it’s OK. I’m not angry. I admire them for taking the time to protest an injustice."

After the game, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd and "expressed his deepest sympathies" to the family of Clark.

Kings owner and chairman @Vivek addresses the crowd following tonight’s game.

Ranadivé said the team recognized that they "have a big platform," which he called a "privilege" and "responsibility."

"We are all united in our commitment" to work "to make the world a better place ... and to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again," he said.

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