SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Police released video of a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened Sunday night. The quick release strikes a delicate balance between investigation transparency and providing answers for a grieving family.
About 5 seconds pass from when the first officer chasing after Stephon Clark says “gun” and shots being fired.
“It strikes a deep chord that sets you off a little bit,” said Ryan McClinton.
He is a civil rights activist with Sacramento ACT. He saw video of Clark’s death for the first time on Wednesday.
“To shoot when someone is on their hands and knees, deeply concerning and deeply hurts,” said McClinton.
Police suspected Clark was breaking into cars when they chased him down, shouting orders at him at one point.
Moments later they rounded a corner, and a life-changing decision was made.
“It’s always dictated on the circumstances and what the officers perceived at the time,” said Det. Eddie Macauley with the Sacramento Police Department.
An internal investigation and review by a city oversight committee are now underway.
“It was very important for us to make sure that the information got out there, not our interpretation,” said Macauley, “and to kind of dispel some of the misinformation that’s got out there.”
“It’s not definitive to me what exactly is going on,” said Sacramento City Councilman Larry Carr.
Carr helped write the police officer use of force policy that was adopted by the council last year. He says while the video is troubling and stirs emotions, a thorough investigation must take place.
“It’s just not clear enough for me to make a determination and I’m not the right person to make that determination anyway,” said Carr.
But for McClinton, the images speak for themselves.
“Extremely excessive, extremely excessive,” said McClinton.
Family members like Stevante Clark say regardless of the investigation outcome, his brother won’t be forgotten.
“They will pay for this,” said Clark, “like how you know Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice—you’re going to know. You’re going to know him. You’re going to remember this.”
The two officers are now on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Meanwhile, CBS13 has learned the family has hired renowned civil rights attorney John Burris to represent them in any potential legal challenges in this case.