No Charges for Cops Who Shot Stephon Clark

Clark only had a cellphone when he was shot dead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2019 4:15 PM CST
No Charges for Cops Who Shot Stephon Clark
In this Wednesday, April 4, 2018 file photo, Dionne Smith-Downs, left, joins others in a march calling for the indictment of two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The two Sacramento police officers whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black man last year prompted nationwide protests will not face criminal charges, prosecutors announced Saturday, the AP reports. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet used lethal force lawfully. The officers have said they thought Clark, a vandalism suspect, had a gun but investigators found only a cellphone. "We must recognize that they are often forced to make split-second decisions and we must recognize that they are under tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances," Schubert said. The city has been bracing for protests ahead of the decision, with business owners warned by a business association and state government workers told by legislative officials in recent days to stay away from downtown at least through the weekend.

Schubert said the decision not to file charges against the officers "does not diminish in any way the tragedy, the anger and the frustration that we heard since the time of his death." She added: "We cannot ignore that there is rage within our community." Protests after the shooting were largely peaceful but disrupted downtown professional basketball games and freeway traffic. Clark's family, including his two sons, his parents and his grandparents, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January seeking more than $20 million from the city, Mercadal and Robinet, alleging that the officers used excessive force and that he was a victim of racial profiling. One of the officers who shot Clark is black and the other is white, police said.

(More police shooting stories.)

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