Cops who fatally shot Stephon Clark return to post as all charges against them dropped

Ama Nunoo September 27, 2019
The deceased, Stephon Clark. Photo: Vox

The two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed an unarmed Stephon Clark in his own grandmother’s backyard are returning to active duty as they have been cleared of all charges. The officers have been cleared by the local, state and federal government of all charges pertaining to the shooting.

A few minutes after the Justice Department opted not to pursue civil rights charges against the officers, Sacramento police also cleared their officers, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet of all charges as well.

The Clark family are, however, unhappy about the decisions made by the various bodies involved. In a Facebook post on Thursday, Stevante Clark mentioned their family’s meeting with the Department of Justice.

He was, however, resentful about the decision to allow the cops back on the street.

Cops who fatally shot Stephon Clark return to post as all charges against them dropped
Stephon’s family mourning his death, Photo: Washington Post

“These people have failed when it comes to #Accountability,” he wrote.

He later told the Sacramento Bee: “I’m not surprised or shocked, we’ve been denied justice for generations. The only thing that caught me off guard, was Chief Hahn is letting one of the officers back to patrol on the streets. That is fucked up. Our streets are not safe with a murderer on the streets.”

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn was the bearer of bad news for the deceased’s family. They had hoped for a different outcome, but officer Hahn said, “The use of deadly force in this case was lawful. Our internal investigation concluded that there were no violations of department policy or training. The officers involved in this case will return to full, active duty.”

There have been several civil rights marches demanding justice for 22-year-old Stephon Clark since he was shot 7 times in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18, 2018.

The police, in their defence, said they thought he was armed and fired several shots his way, but he had his cell phone in his hand instead. They acted on a report saying someone was carjacking their neighbourhood.

Cops who fatally shot Stephon Clark return to post as all charges against them dropped
A protester holds a photo of Stephon Clark during a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento on March 22, 2018

The law enforcement agencies say they have investigated the case on all levels considering all evidence involved but cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that the shooting was racially motivated, the Bee reported.

In a statement issued to the press by Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg, he said, “This incident has been investigated at every level and each agency came to the same conclusion. Those conclusions, however, will never change the fact that this was a tragedy and the Clark family lost a loved one.

“As a city and as a police department, we have made many important changes. We changed our foot pursuit policy; our body worn camera policy and will continue to make the changes necessary to make our city safer for our community and our officers.”

None of the statements made by all the law enforcement agencies alleviates the fears of the Clark family and their legal team. Their family lawyer, Dale Galip, said he did expect this outcome from the investigations.

He said he was “disappointed but not surprised because I think with few exceptions in the last 10,000 police officer shootings there’s been no criminal prosecutions.”

“It’s negligent not to be able to recognize the difference between a handgun and a white cell phone, it’s a little troubling,” He added that, “the department’s decision to keep them on the force will always haunt them if they are involved in another shooting.”

Earlier this month, Galipo helped the family win a $2.4 million settlement with Sacramento for Clark’s two surviving sons.

Last Edited by:Victor Ativie Updated: September 28, 2020


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