Former Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins has reached out to the family of Stephon Clark — a young black man fatally shot by police on Sunday — and offered to pay for the funeral, as first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
Sacramento police shot and killed Clark, 22, in his grandmother's backyard after pursuing him in suspicion of reported car robberies in the neighborhood. Officers fired 20 shots at Clark when they believed the cell phone he was holding was a firearm. Officers discovered he was unarmed.
Department-released footage from the incident only exacerbated tensions built from a situation deemed as another example of officers shooting an unarmed black person. Protestors gathered at Sacramento's City Hall on Thursday. After shutting down Interstate 5 in both directions, they locked arms around the entrance of the Golden 1 Center — where the Sacramento Kings were scheduled to play against the Hawks.
Police prevented fans from trying to enter the arena for safety reasons and the Kings offered refunds to anyone unable to enter. Sacramento and Atlanta played in a largely empty arena.
The crowd at tip off pic.twitter.com/IiFEttYfQS
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) March 23, 2018
It's not unusual to see Cousins get involved with issues involving social justice and advocacy — especially in the Sacramento area. He has paid for the funeral of a high school football player, Jaulon "JJ" Clavo — who was shot before a playoff game in 2015 — held free basketball camps at Sacramento High and purchased a new scoreboard for the school's gym.
Cousins has also participated in police forums in his hometown of Mobile, Ala. — as well as Sacramento — and visited students at inner-city schools that high-profile athletes typically don't go to.
Even with a history of community outreach, Cousins has an off-the-court character that has been questioned for quite some time, going back to his time at Kentucky.
There is a 100% chance that Demarcus Cousins is arrested for something in the next five years. 100%. Write it in stone.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 30, 2010
Cousins, meanwhile, has kept his promise to maintain ties to the Sacramento community because of the special bond he's grown to share with the city, even while playing in New Orleans.
"My love for this city will never change," he said in an emotional farewell last season. "Even though I’m gone, it’ll still be the same. I’m still looking out for these kids. Every family in this city matters to me. Every soul in this city matters to me. Everything’s the same. I’m just not in a Kings uniform anymore, which is OK because the love is still here."