Nearly one year after Sacramento police shot and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man in his grandmother's backyard, the District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert has announced that the two officers will not face criminal charges.
Clark, 22, was killed on March 18, 2018, after two police officers, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, responded to a tip about someone vandalizing parked cars in the Southern neighborhood of Meadowview. The authorities then pursued Clark to an unknown backyard, which was later determined to be his grandmother's, and fatally shot him 20 times, including six times in the back. The officers claimed that they shot Clark because they believed he had a gun; they later discovered that he had only been holding an iPhone.
Clark's killing sparked legions of protestors to denounce the brutality exhibited by the police officers. The activists blocked congested streets, disrupted sporting events, and took to City Council meetings to protest. The Clark family demanded that the Sacramento DA take action against Mercadal and Robinet for their fatal use of force against an unarmed black man.
While announcing her decision on Saturday, Schubert acknowledged the "tremendous grief, anger and anxiety by the Clark family and by this community." However, she also defended the actions of both officers."We must recognize that they are often forced to make split-second decisions," she said. "We must also recognize that they are under tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances."
In her seven-page report, Schubert then revealed that her office would not be pursuing criminal charges. "Therefore, the shooting of Mr. Clark was lawful and no criminal charges will be filed." The Clark family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city in January, which is still ongoing.
Tanya Faison, who leads the local Black Lives Matter chapter, explained that she was "disgusted" after hearing news of the announcement. "The whole announcement I felt was very disrespectful," Faison told a reporter. "The whole time they were building up validation to say why they're not charging the officers."
The city is bracing for unrest amid Schubert's announcement.