Protests after autopsy proves police shot black man in the back

Around 200 demonstrators squared off with police in riot gear overnight in California's capital and more protests are planned after an autopsy on Stephon Clark contradicted the police account of the shooting of the unarmed black man by officers.

Waving signs and chanting Mr Clark'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 on to a highway. There were no arrests, the Sacramento Bee reported.

A protest is planned for noon on Saturday and is to be led by retired Sacramento Kings basketball star Matt Barnes, a statement from the organisers of the Unity and Action rally said.

Mr Clark's death two weeks ago was the most recent in a string of fatal shootings of black men by police that have triggered protests across the US and fuelled a national debate about bias in the American criminal justice system.

Mr Clark, a 22-year-old 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 Mr Clark 20 times feared he was holding a gun, but that he was later found to have been holding a mobile phone.

Police have said he was moving towards officers in a menacing way when they fired. The incident was captured on a body cam video released by police on Wednesday.

The latest demonstrations were touched off by a new private autopsy on Mr Clark that showed that none of the eight bullets that hit him struck him in the front, contradicting the police version of events, a lawyer for the deceased's family said on Friday.

Mr Clark was shot six times in the back, once in the side and once in the leg, the autopsy found.

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 Mr Clark's body could have killed him.

Reuters