No Charges for Police Who Killed Stephon Clark

By Free Radical

Stephon Clark and his children.

Stephon Clark and his children. The two officers who killed Clark were not charged by the Sacramento DA.

On Saturday, Sacramento District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert announces that she would not indict the two police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark. Clark, a 22 year old Black Sacramento resident, was killed by two police officers in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18, 2018. The two officers, Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal, who are White, claimed that they believed that Clark had a gun when they encountered him. After killing him, and failing to conduct any life saving measures, they came to find out what they believed was a gun, was actually a cellphone.

Despite this revelation, Sacramento County District Attorney Schubert’s press conference focused on the events leading up to the deadly shooting. She mentioned that the officers responded to a call of someone committing vandalism, which DNA evidence suggested it was Clark who committed these acts. Schubert also used cellphone records and internet searches to show that Clark had committed acts of domestic violence and had issues with mental health. Particularly, he threatened to kill himself.

Sequette Clark, Stephon’s mother said that these revelations were immaterial. “What matters is how those officers came with lethal force around a corner, on a vandalism call, after my son and gunned him down — when he had nothing but a cellphone in his hand.”

Observers also pointed out that police officers Robinet and Mercadal were not aware of Clark’s history when they shot at him twenty times, hitting him with seven bullets.

Quenta Givens, a neighbor of Clark’s grandmother, said, “I feel like she was charging him with his own murder.” She continued, “Why are we judging him? He’s already been killed. We should be judging the cops — that’s who did it!”

The investigation that led to the DA’s decision was completed by the Sacramento Police Department in October.

An internal review of Robinet and Mercadal’s actions and if they are firable offenses are ongoing.

While California’s attorney general will also review the case, other state officials have pledged reform in the wake of the Clark decision. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed, “I will use my influence, my time, and my experience as a former legislative leader to help the parties change the standard to better protect both the community and our officers.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged the need for “systemic reform” and “the hard truth — our criminal justice system treats young black and Latino men and women differently than their white counterparts.”

Kamala Harris, a US Senator who hails from the state and who is running for president tweeted, “Today’s news is a tragic and all too painful reminder that our criminal justice system is deeply flawed and lacks accountability. Our fight for justice continues.”

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