SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg responded to the District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s decision to not prosecute the officers involved in the shooting of Stephon Clark Saturday.
Clark was shot and killed by officers last March in his grandmother’s backyard.
“The District Attorney said she focused on a simple question. Did the officers who shot Stephon Clark commit a crime? Her answer was no,” Steinberg said. “Our community and its leadership have a different question: Was the outcome wrong and unacceptable. The answer is yes.”
Steinberg said he believes police officers have a tough job, noting their willingness to put their lives on the line while also having the power to take a life. But, the Mayor said, “It’s time for us to take another look at a law that’s over 100 years old to better protect both officers and members of our community.”
He is calling for a change in the use-of-force standard for law enforcement. In January, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the release of a new Department of Justice Report on the use of force by the Sacramento Police Department.
The report recommends banning officers from performing chokeholds. It was done independently of the Stephon Clark investigation. Steinberg tweeted Saturday that he supports Assemblymember Weber’s bill to bring change to the use of force policy.
Mayor Steinberg has been leading community efforts since Clark’s death and highlighted the incident in his State of the City address last month.
“How do I as your Mayor give voice to the pain that is so real and so raw in our community?” Steinberg said in the address. “How do I as a relatively privileged white man let my suffering community members know they do not suffer alone — that their elected leaders are genuinely committed to change? How do I step into your shoes?”
Steinberg apologized to Clark’s family and to the community. He also highlighted the steps the police department is taking to build relationships with the community. Steinberg also talked about Measure U and pushed for $40 million in funds from it to be put towards disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Saturday, the mayor said the DA’s announcement only deepens the city’s commitment to “making sustained and meaningful investments in our neighborhoods and our young people.”
Some of those changes were started in January with pop-up events for youths. The pops began after brawls broke out between teenagers at the Arden Fair Mall.
“Stephon’s death must be the catalyst for the kind of change that people will look back upon and say, out of the depths of pain and anger, and injustice, came hope, peace, and real equity for our people,” Steinberg said.
The Mayor’s office also announced ‘safe zones’ for families and young people to go to Saturday after the DA’s announcement.
You can read a condensed version of Steinberg’s remarks below:
To respond in a fair and complete way to today’s announcement by the District Attorney, we must be clear that the Stephon Clark case is not the first time our community and communities throughout our country have faced the situation of an officer-involved shooting where the person who died did not in fact have a gun.
What I say to you now is less about the DA’s conclusions today and more about how to best prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again.
Today, the District Attorney said she focused on a single question: Did the officers who shot Stephon Clark commit a crime? Her answer was no.
Our community and its leadership have a different question: Was the outcome wrong and unacceptable.
The answer is yes.
Today’s announcement is not a surprise. What matters most now is what we do going forward together.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to protecting the sanctity of all life.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to transformational community policing and better training. We must see the work we have been doing as only the beginning – not the end.
I think police officers have a very tough job. They put their lives on the line and at the same time have an awesome power to take a life. It’s time for us to take another look at a law that’s over 100 years old to better protect both officers and members of our community.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to changing the long-held standard that allows officers to shoot when objectively reasonable to a clearer set of specific rules and standards that requires officers to do all they can to prevent a potentially lethal confrontation in the first place. I will use my influence, my time and my experience as a former legislative leader to help the parties change the standard to better protect both the community and our officers.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to making sustained and meaningful investments in our neighborhoods and our young people.
We must come together now to ensure that this is a tipping point for our community, not a breaking point.
Stephon Clark should not have died, and I am sorry for the deep pain his family has suffered. The family has requested that we please respect their wish for privacy at this difficult time.
If Sacramento is going to truly be a beacon of equality, then every community must feel equally safe.
Stephon’s death must be the catalyst for the kind of change that people will look back upon and say, out of the depths of pain and anger, and injustice, came hope, peace, and real equity for our people.