Activists Call On California AG To Charge Officers In Stephon Clark Shooting

Protests broke out after the Sacramento district attorney said she would not charge the police officers.

Activists are calling on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to file charges against the officers who shot Stephon Clark last year after the Sacramento district attorney said her office would not.

On Saturday, Sacramento District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert said at a press conference the two police officers who in March 2018 shot 22-year-old Clark, who was black and unarmed would not face criminal charges. She said the evidence supported the officers’ account that Clark was moving toward them when they fired, and they thought Clark was pointing a gun. 

Officers shot Clark multiple times after responding to a call about car window breakings and chasing him into his grandparents’ yard. When he was shot, Clark was holding a cell phone.

On Monday, civil rights activist Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People’s Alliance for Justice, delivered a letter to the California Justice Department office in Sacramento addressed to Becerra, urging the state attorney general to charge the officers involved in Clark’s shooting death.

Alongside other faith leaders, Harris is asking Becerra to prosecute officers before the one year anniversary of Clark’s death, on March 18.  

“This is Michael Brown. This is Trayvon Martin. This is Eric Garner all over again,” Rev. Harris told HuffPost by phone Monday, listing off other unarmed black men and boys killed in recent years. “This is why we’re outraged.”

Harris added that he and others are hoping Becerra will have the “courage” to prosecute the officers.

The attorney general’s office told HuffPost Monday that it could not comment on ongoing investigations. 

Demonstrators gather outside of the Sacramento Police Department on March 2, 2019, after District Attorney Anne-Marie Schuber
Demonstrators gather outside of the Sacramento Police Department on March 2, 2019, after District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert announced that officers did not break any laws when they shot Stephon Clark in 2018.

During Saturday’s press conference about the lack of charges, Schubert also talked about Clark’s cell phone records, saying these showed he had searched online for information about suicide and at one point texted the mother of his kids about killing himself.

Clark’s family and others criticized Schubert for bringing it up, saying any suicidal texts were irrelevant to officers shooting him dead that night.

“Whatever he was doing, or on, whatever his character is or his actions prior to those police gunning him down, is no one’s business,” Clark’s mother SeQuette said Saturday. “That’s not justification, that’s not a permit to kill him.”

“It was completely insulting and egregious,” Harris told HuffPost Monday of the DA’s remarks. “Not only did they not charge the officers, but then she rubbed it in and she criminalized a dead man. This is a moral issue.”

The Sacramento DA’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Black Lives Matter’s Sacramento chapter led protests after the DA’s announcement, including shutting down a local mall over the weekend. The group called Schubert’s comments “vile.”

“No justification for murder!” Black Lives Matter Sacramento tweeted. “No excuses!”

There were more protests planned for Monday night.