Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old father of two, was murdered by Sacramento Police on March 18, 2018. Shortly after his death, Sacramento PD claimed that Mr. Clark fit the description of a man armed with a “toolbar” breaking windows and that they mistook his cellphone for a firearm. Stephon Clark was pursued with military grade aviation vehicles and murdered over broken windows — private property was once again deemed more valuable than a father of two, a partner, a son, a brother, a cousin, a friend, a man.
Despite its reputation as a diverse city, Sacramento is a prime example for how the social history of its regional infrastructure contributes to making racial inequality economic and intergenerational -- all under the guise of neutral market behavior. The places where people of color have lived -- places that have been ‘ghettoized’ through divestment of infrastructure spending -- are the places the general public is allowed to think of as racially segregated: the Oak Parks, the Glen Elders, the Meadowviews. But we never talk about the racial segregation that formed the Land Parks, the Curtis Parks, or the new “North Oak Park” that became valuable because finance capital and de facto institutional racism ensured segregated whiteness was simply a ZIP code with great credit scores & upwardly mobile home equity.
The persistence of Sacramento Black Lives Matter and its allies are a testament to how resistance can still emerge despite an intentionally suppressive artificial geography that was meant to disperse working class & underclass resistance from forming on the streets at all. We recognize reforms such as body cameras and citizen oversight committees do nothing to address the structural aspects of policing. Police inherently protect the interests of property over the lives of those designated as expendable. As socialists, we realize that police are only necessary in a society that underdevelops some communities while enriching others. In the United States, this frequently falls along racial lines. DSA calls for the total abolishment of the carceral state and police, as they are mechanisms for enforcing racial capitalism.
The Sacramento chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America extends our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Stephon Clark. We are in solidarity with the individuals and organizations who put everything on the line to dismantle the capitalist, white supremacist society we all now inhabit, in order to build an ethical society out of its ashes.
We call on all DSA members, here in Sacramento and nationwide, to support the Sacramento Black Lives Matter’s National Day of Action demanding justice for Stephon Clark and all other victims of police terror.