By Verbal Adam | OBSERVER Correspondent
Five years after the killing of Stephon Clark, his family is calling for the officers who killed him to be fired, charged and prosecuted.
Both officers remain employed by the Sacramento Police Department.
Clark, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot and killed March 18, 2018, by officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet in the backyard of his grandmother’s house. The officers stated that they fired 20 rounds at Clark because they believed he pointed a gun at them. Police found only a cell phone on him.
While the Sacramento County coroner’s autopsy report concluded Clark was shot seven times, including three to the right side of the back, the pathologist hired by the Clark family stated that Clark was shot eight times, including six times in the back.
The shooting caused large protests in Sacramento, and Clark’s family rejected the initial police description of events leading to Clark’s death. SPD placed the officers on paid administrative leave and opened an investigation. Police have stated that they are confident that Clark was the suspect responsible for breaking car windows in the area prior to the encounter.
Anne Marie Schubert, then Sacramento County district attorney, announced March 2, 2019, that the officers would not be charged, that they had probable cause to stop Clark and were legally justified in the use of deadly force. The city settled a wrongful death suit brought by the Clark family for $4.1 million.
“There’s no reason I should be out here talking about my brother’s legacy, defending my brother’s legacy, when the officers who murdered him should be proving their innocence in court,” Stevante Clark told The OBSERVER. “We always have to relive the death of Stephon.”
In the years since the shooting, Clark’s family has coordinated numerous events and public works to remember his life and legacy. This year’s events included a justice and accountability march, mother’s brunch, a ride-along and on March 15 a legacy night, including a legacy dinner. This year the City of Sacramento designated March 18 as “Stephon Clark Day of Reflection.”
The Clarks have opened Stephon’s House, a community resource center that includes a museum, library, game room, therapy room and archive at 5940 Rosebud Lane in Citrus Heights. They also opened the Stephon A. Clark College Prep Middle School at 2801 Meadowview Road in Sacramento.
Stevante Clark said he will continue to hold marches until there is justice for people who are killed by police violence.