California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday that he won’t file criminal charges against the two Sacramento police officers who killed an unarmed black man while responding to a call for vandalism last March.
The California Department of Justice conducted an independent investigation into the shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark and decided the officers acted lawfully.
“Our investigation has concluded that no criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting can be sustained,” Becerra said in a news conference in Sacramento.
Clark’s killing, which followed a string of deadly confrontations between police and black men in other parts of the country, ignited protests that disrupted an NBA game and a city council meeting.
Demonstrations sparked anew in California’s capital the last few days after District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced Saturday that prosecutors wouldn’t charge officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet in Clark’s death.
Schubert said they mistook the cellphone in Clark’s hand for a gun and had reason to believe their lives were in danger when they shot him in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18, 2018.
After small protests Saturday and Sunday, the latter prompting the closing of Sacramento’s largest mall, a larger demonstration resulted in more than 80 arrests Monday. Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler and three clergy members were among those arrested.
Before announcing his decision, Becerra met Tuesday morning with Clark’s mother, SeQuette Clark. The family and activists against police brutality had been pressing for a different conclusion than what the DA’s office reached.