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

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.


Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

Updated 18 min 20 sec ago

Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

  • Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi
  • Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: A Pakistan couple have been arrested for allegedly murdering their seven-year-old maid after she was blamed for letting a pet bird escape, police said, the latest case of violence against child domestic workers in the country.
Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, to care for their son of a similar same age.
“The poor girl was subjected to torture by Siddiqui and his wife who accused her of freeing one of the four pet Macao parrots,” investigating officer Mukhtar Ahmad said on Thursday.
“Siddiqui kicked her in the lower abdomen which proved fatal.”
Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan, according to the International Labour Organization.
Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15, but it remains common practice.
Zohra was taken to hospital by the couple on Sunday, but died the following day. The incident was reported to the police by staff at the hospital.
The young girl’s body was handed over to her parents, who live in Muzaffargarh, near the city of Multan, more than 500 kilometers away from where she was working.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari confirmed the arrests in a tweet and said the ministry was in touch with police.
“Violence and physical torture against children will not be tolerated and all those involved in such incidents will be dealt with,” city police chief Muhammad Ahsan Younus added.
Domestic workers frequently face exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, with Pakistan’s patriarchal and rigid social-class structure leaving them without a voice.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and Bibi’s case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.
In December 2018, the rising number of abuse cases led the provincial legislature in Punjab to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.