SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the side of the Stephon Clark story you haven’t seen before. It’s been nearly a year since the 22-year-old was shot and killed by Sacramento Police officers. Meanwhile, his children have been kept largely out of the public eye.
“One day, these kids will demand justice and my daughter demands justice and we’re going to push for justice,” said Raj Manni, the grandfather of Clark’s children.
It’s a story all too familiar for many of us. But there are two people who’ve lived it through a completely different lens: The children of Stephon Clark.
Last year, 4-year-old Aiden, 2-year-old Cairo and their mother Salena moved down to Southern California to be closer to Manni and his wife.
“They’re a blessing every day,” Manni said. “We cherish our kids and we want the best for them.”
Aiden spends his days in preschool and loves doing pushups. Both boys wore sweaters featuring the ‘Cat in the Hat’, so we asked Aiden if he’d read the Dr. Seuss classic.
“No, I need to order that book!” Aiden said. “I don’t have it at my house!”
The bright young boy was clearly proud to be a big brother and excited to discuss Santa Claus.
“What did he bring you?” asked CBS13’s Macy Jenkins.
“A present and a toy,” Aiden said enthusiastically. “It’s a yo-yo!”
“Why did you want to make sure that you spoke to us today?” Jenkins asked Manni.
“We want to make sure the kids still have a voice and we speak out on their behalf,” he said.
And as far as understanding where their father is, Manni knows that conversation will come one day.
“We keep it to the extent that he’s in his heart,” he said, looking at Aiden. “He knows that Daddy’s in his heart. That is a tough thing that we have contemplated many times, me and my wife. We talk to my daughter as well. But it’s something we can never prepare for.”
“What’s the best case scenario?” Jenkins asked.
“There cannot be a best-case scenario because we lost Stephon,” Manni said. “Because he will not be able to come back.”