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Protests block traffic, disrupt NBA game in Sacramento after police killing of unarmed black man

Protesters hold their fists in the air as they block the entrance to the Golden 1 Center during a demonstration on Thursday in Sacramento, California. Hundreds of protesters staged a demonstration against the Sacramento police department after two officers shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, in the backyard of his grandmother's house Sunday evening. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sacramento police shot and killed an unarmed black man on Sunday in his grandparents’ backyard while responding to a call about break-ins. Video was released Wednesday, and by Thursday protests had disrupted the entire city, NPR reports.

What happened?

Protesters angry about the killing took to the streets Thursday, first mobilizing outside city hall with chants of “Come outside.”

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Later, the crowds moved to Interstate 5, shutting down all traffic on the highway during rush hour.

The protest eventually made its way to the Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team.

The Kings were scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. Before the game, protesters locked arms outside the arena and blocked thousands of patrons from entering.

The start of the game was delayed, but the NBA opted not to cancel. For the safety of patrons, the Kings closed the doors of the arena to fans who hadn’t already gotten inside, offering refunds to those who were forced to miss the game.

The arena holds about 17,000 people, but only about 2,000 got inside to see the game.

The Kings’ owner addressed those fans after the game, expressing support for the right to peaceful protest and attempting to unify the community.

“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,” said the owner, Vivek Ranadive. “We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”

About the incident

The protests stem from the killing of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old father of two who was shot 20 times after police thought the cellphone in his hand was a gun.

Police had received reports of break-ins in the area, and Clark was suspected of breaking into three vehicles and one home.

Police said Clark had refused to follow orders to stop and show his hands. It’s unclear what Clark was doing in the moments leading up to the shots fired.

(H/T KOVR-TV)

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