Fans at Pacers-Kings game expecting ‘significant police presence’ with tensions high over Sacramento police shooting

Protests disrupted events at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento

When the Indiana Pacers play the Sacramento Kings Thursday night, they’ll wade into a city ripped apart by a police shooting earlier this month.

Stephon Clark, 22, was fatally shot on March 18 and will be laid to rest Thursday. Officers shot Clark, who was unarmed, in his grandparents’ backyard. The shooting has sparked widespread protests around the city.

Those protests have included the Golden 1 Center, which is home to the Sacramento Kings, the Pacers’ Thursday night opponent.

Protests blocked the entrances to the venue for two Kings games. The team shared a letter with fans last night on social media, saying officials decided to close the arena doors on March 22 out of concerns for fans’ safety. The March 25 game went as scheduled, but protests spilled over on March 27, forcing the arena to close its doors again.

“We appreciate your commitment to the team and know we will get through this difficult time together, better, and stronger as a united community,” the team wrote.

“We’ve been working with the mayor, law enforcement, and community leaders to continue to ensure the safety and security of fans at Thursday’s game and future events. Together, we are committed to bringing guests into the arena safely and [Thursday’s] game will proceed as scheduled.”

The team said fans should expect a “significant police presence” if they go to the game. Security and ticket checks will continue around the perimeter, the team said.

“We are dedicated to ensuring your safety at Golden 1 Center and we look forward to welcoming you to the game.”