Protests erupt in California after shooting of black man

Black Lives Matter protesters stage a demonstration in front of Sacramento City Hall on Mar. 30, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (AFP)
Updated 31 March 2018
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Protests erupt in California after shooting of black man

SACRAMENTO: About 200 demonstrators squared off with police in riot gear overnight in California’s capital and more protests are planned for Saturday, after a autopsy on Stephon Clark contradicted the police account of the shooting of the unarmed black man.
Waving signs and chanting the 22-year-old’s name in unison, the protesters gathered at city hall before marching into the Old Sacramento part of the city, filled with bars, restaurants and tourists.
Protesters, some with megaphones and black masks covering their faces, shouted “Shoot us down, we shut you down,” along with expletives directed at the police.
More than 80 police and California Highway Patrol officers in riot gear blocked protesters from marching onto a highway.
Clark’s death was the most recent in a string of fatal shootings of black men by police that have triggered protests across the United States and fueled a national debate about bias in the American criminal justice system.
The father of two, was gunned down in the backyard of his grandparents’ house by police responding to a report that someone was breaking windows. Police said the officers who shot at Clark 20 times feared he was holding a firearm, but that he was later found to have been holding a cellphone.
Police have said he was moving toward officers in a menacing way when they fired. The incident was captured on a body cam video released by police on Wednesday.
The latest round of demonstrations were touched off by a new private autopsy on Clark that showed that none of the eight bullets hit him in the front, contradicting the police version of events, a lawyer for the deceased’s family said on Friday.
Clark was hit six times in the back, once in the side and once in the leg, the autopsy found.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family of Clark said: “This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The Sacramento Police Department said in a statement that it would have no further comment on the case until after the release of the findings of an official autopsy by the county coroner, and a review by state and local prosecutors.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who conducted the independent autopsy, said at a briefing that any one of seven bullets that entered the upper half of Clark’s body could have killed him.
Clark’s shooting has sparked largely peaceful demonstrations in Sacramento. On several occasions over the past two weeks, protesters have marched, held demonstrations and twice blocked fans from reaching games played by the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team at the Golden 1 Center.
At the funeral service for Clark on Thursday, veteran civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton said: “We’re going to make Donald Trump and the whole world deal with the issue of police misconduct.”
The service at a church in Sacramento came a day after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the shooting was a “local matter.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said state investigators will oversee the investigation and review the police department’s procedures and practices.
Another protest is planned for noon on Saturday and is to be led by retired Sacramento Kings’ basketball star Matt Barnes, a statement from the organizers of the Unity and Action rally said.


24 bodies retrieved from flooded Zimbabwe gold mine: report

A rescued artisanal miner is carried from a pit as retrieval efforts proceed for trapped illegal gold miners in Kadoma, Zimbabwe, February 16, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 38 min 56 sec ago
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24 bodies retrieved from flooded Zimbabwe gold mine: report

  • Formal unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent and artisanal gold mining, mostly in mines long abandoned by big corporates, is widespread providing a source of income for many

HARARE: Rescue workers retrieved 24 bodies and eight survivors Saturday from two flooded gold mines in Zimbabwe where officials fear dozens more illegal miners are still trapped, state television reported.
“Eight of the trapped minors have been rescued ... while 24 bodies have been retrieved to date as rescue efforts continue at Battlefields Mine,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The two disused mines are situated near the town of Kadoma, 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of the capital Harare.
The rescued received medical attention on site before being take to hospital, but were in a stable condition, the report added.
Television footage showed some of the men, in soaked, muddy clothes, being helped to a makeshift clinic.
In a clip posted on Twitter, one survivor told journalists that the waters had risen to neck level, forcing them to stand for days until it receded.
On Friday the government said that between 60 and 70 “artisanal” miners were trapped in two shafts.
It launched an appeal for $200,000 to be used “to pump out water, feeding the bereaved families and the (rescue) teams on the ground, transportation and burial of the victims,” local minister July Moyo said in a statement.
“Given the magnitude of this disaster, we kindly appeal to individuals, development partners and the corporate world for assistance in cash and kind,” he said.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a deep economic crisis, the worst in a decade.
Annual inflation shot to 56.90 percent up from 42.09 percent in December 2018, according to official statistics released Friday, the highest increase in a decade. Economists say in reality prices have gone up more than three fold in recent months.
Formal unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent and artisanal gold mining, mostly in mines long abandoned by big corporates, is widespread providing a source of income for many.
Artisanal mining is not banned outright in Zimbabwe, and is largely unregulated.