As anger and grief boiled over into large protests in Sacramento, California, over the death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, the district attorney’s office has declined to say whether it is considering criminal charges for the officers who shot him, KOVR-TV reports.
What’s the story?
Clark’s family held a news conference at City Hall on Monday, expressing sorrow for the loss of their family member and demanding answers to why he was killed.
“They didn’t have to kill him like that,” Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, said through her tears. “They didn’t have to shoot him that many times. Why didn’t you shoot him in the arm? Shoot him in the leg? Send the dogs? Send the taser? Why?”
Stephon Clark's grandmother: "Why didn't you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send a dog, send a ta… https://t.co/y94JF4H28K— NBC News (@NBC News)1522089355.0
The family’s attorney, Ben Crump, questioned why the person who killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school was not shot, and the man suspected of killing two people with package bombs in Austin was not shot, but Clark was shot 20 times despite being unarmed.
Crump is representing the family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento Police Department.
Sacramento and state of California NAACP representatives attended the news conference and are pushing for a meeting with District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, presumably to discuss potential criminal charges.
“Anne Marie Schubert district attorney, we do not give you a pass,” Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams said. “You need to return the call of the NAACP.”
What was the DA’s response?
A spokesperson for the DA’s office said they are coordinating with the NAACP to set up a meeting: “The meeting being scheduled with the NAACP is at their request, so we are not sure what they would like to discuss. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office reviews all officer-involved shootings that occur in the county which result in injury or death.”
The DA’s office would not say whether they are considering charging the officers involved.
What happened to Clark?
In response to calls about a man breaking into vehicles and possibly a home, officers pursued Clark, the suspect, eventually cornering him after 9 p.m. on March 18 in the backyard of his grandmother’s house.
The officers repeatedly shouted for Clark to stop and show his hands. The officers on the ground received word from the police helicopter that Clark had a gun, and the officers shot Clark as he moved toward them.
Clark turned out to be unarmed, and the item he had at the time was a cellphone.
Here is video of the shooting (Content warning: This video may be disturbing for some viewers):