SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the California Department of Justice won’t be charging the two officers involved in the shooting of Stephon Clark.
“After extensively reviewing the record, we found that the evidence did not support filing criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting,” Becerra said.
Becerra held a press conference late Tuesday morning to announce the results of the DOJ’s investigation. He began by thanking Clark’s mother for meeting with him earlier in the morning.
“The death of Stephon Alonzo Clark weighs heavily on our community and on our hearts – and it is why we must continue our work with law enforcement agencies in the state to build on best practices and strengthen trust between peace officers and the communities they are sworn to protect,” Becerra said.
Becerra stressed that the DOJ did an independent review of the evidence in the case, not a review of the work that the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office did of the shooting.
The independent review was requested by Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn.
“It is important to note that the scope of this investigation was confined solely to an examination of whether the facts of this case were sufficient to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, the commission of a criminal offense,” Becerra said.
Last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not be filing charges against the two Sacramento police officers involved in the March 18, 2018 incident.
Schubert went into a detailed explanation behind her decision, saying the evidence supports the officers’ statements that they believed Clark was pointing a gun. Clark was only holding a cellphone.
With the local and state authorities now done with their investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI announced Tuesday that they will now be looking into Clark’s shooting. Along with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the investigation will look at whether Clark’s federal civil rights were violated.
Both the substance and results of the state and local investigations will be investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The decision to not charge the officers has been met with backlash. Protesters in support of Clark staged a sit-in at Arden Fair Mall, prompting the mall to be closed for all of Sunday.
Monday, a large group of protesters descended on East Sacramento near the Trader Joe’s on Folsom Boulevard. After reports of people keying cars and protesters refusing to disperse, officers moved in and arrested a total of 84 people.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg released a statement saying he was “disappointed” in the way the protest ended.
“I’m very disappointed the protest ended the way it did. I have many questions about what went on that precipitated the order to disperse and the subsequent arrests,” Steinberg said in a statement.
At least one reporter for the Sacramento Bee was among those arrested or detained. Steinberg was also critical of the reporter’s arrest.
“No matter the reason an order to disperse was given, no member of the press should be detained for doing their job,” Steinberg wrote.
Tuesday, Steinberg announced he and the city council will be asking for an independent investigation into what happened in the protest.
Activists are also expected to be at the Sacramento City Council meeting on Tuesday.