SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – California’s Attorney General announced on Tuesday that he won’t charge two Sacramento police officers who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year, joining a local prosecutor in finding that the officers reasonably believed Stephon Clark had a gun as he moved towards them.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the results of a nearly yearlong investigation after telling Clark’s mother privately. He acknowledged that it was not what Clark’s family wanted but said the evidence showed the officers had reason to believe their lives were in danger, though investigators found only a cellphone. SeQuette Clark did not comment on Tuesday on Becerra’s findings.
“There is a lot of hurt in this community today and certainly in the home of the Clark family,” Becerra said. “Our investigation can’t change what has happened, but we can make every effort to deliver a fair, thorough and impartial review, which we promised this community.”
Clark, 22, was suspected of vandalism when he was shot seven times on March 18, 2018, and his killing prompted protests in California’s capital city and across the US.
New demonstrations followed Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s decision this weekend not to charge the officers, with 84 people arrested on Monday. A reporter from The Sacramento Bee newspaper was briefly detained while live-streaming the protest, and clergy members were among those arrested. The police said the gathering in a wealthy Sacramento neighbourhood was an unlawful assembly and that cars had been keyed.
People who had participated said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that police were overly aggressive, pushing and sometimes striking protesters and ramming them with bikes. One woman said that her ankle was broken.