SACRAMENTO (CBM) – The People’s Alliance for Justice, a national civil rights group, has returned to Sacramento to meet with the family of Stephon Clark, an African-American man, who was gunned down by local police in his grandparent’s backyard.
Rev. Shane Harris, the founder of the People’s Alliance, held a press conference in front of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s office on Monday morning and delivered a letter and calling for justice and demanding action on the case.
Schubert has yet to announce whether she intends to prosecute the officers involved with the shooting. According to the D.A.’s office’s latest statement, they cannot comment on the case.
“Because this matter is under review and is still pending, ethical obligations prevent us from commenting further at this time. Once a decision is made, details will be provided,” according to a statement released in January.
The statement also said the D.A.’s office is currently reviewing a report from the State Attorney General’s office.
According to The Intercept, Schubert received about $13,000 from police associations two days after the shooting. The Intercept also stated Schubert had received more than $1 million from police associations over the span of three political campaigns.
Local district attorneys often receive donations from police associations when they are campaigning for office. However, this makes it difficult for D.A’s to prosecute officers when they’re accused of misconduct. Harris questioned Schubert’s ability to look at the case objectively.
“She has received contributions from the same people she is supposed to prosecute,” he said.
According to Harris, this doesn’t bode well for the future of Clark’s case. He said he wasn’t happy with the way Schubert has handled the case.
“She has handled it quite poorly,” said Harris.
Harris added protests have already been planned to mark the one-year anniversary of Stephon Clark’s death.
Chris Adams, the Sacramento representative for the People’s Alliance for Justice, said police shootings are common in Meadowview, a high-crime area of the city.
He said growing up in the area, he used to have run-ins with police who would brag about “smoking” people.
“Cops would shoot people like it was nothing,” he said.
Adams said the city had buried the problem by paying victims and their families large financial settlements that usually include confidentiality agreements. So the problem literally goes away and is never dealt with.
However, Adams, who is close with the Clark family, said they are not looking for money, they want accountability.
“I feel there is no amount of money they could receive that could compensate for their loss,” said Adams. “Prosecution is what we want, or different legislation. They don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
However, Adams said many things have changed since he was growing up. Police now have to wear body cameras that can be used against them in prosecution. Also, Stephon Clark’s killing has now become an international story which has received publicity from the involvement of civil rights activists such as Harris and Rev. Al Sharpton. This makes it difficult to sweep the case under the rug.
By Manny Otiko | California Black Media