Civil rights charges will not be filed against the officers accused of shooting and killing Stephon Clark.
In a press release issued Thursday, federal officials announced there was a lack of evidence in order to follow through on filing federal criminal civil rights charges against the Sacramento Police Department officers who shot and killed Clark in March 2018.
“After a careful and thorough review into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators and prosecutors determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of the federal statute. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed,” read the Sept. 26 statement from the Eastern District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The news release added that officials with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and career prosecutors in the Civil Rights Division made a “comprehensive, independent review of the events surrounding the shooting that resulted in Clark’s death.” Additionally, federal authorities looked over evidence from local law enforcement, including the Sacramento Police Department, as well as the California Department of Justice, which included witness statements, audio and video recordings, police reports, and autopsy reports.
Clark’s death occurred last spring when he was in the backyard of his grandparents’ house in Sacramento, California. The 22-year-old was shot and killed by two SPD officers — one white and the other Black. Although each of the men came forward this past March to give their takes on what occurred, the SPD has not confirmed they are part of the unit.
Last March, the two officers were responding to reports that a man was breaking into vehicles using a toolbar. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputies circled the area and spotted the man in question, Clark, fleeing behind the back of his home. That’s where officers claimed Clark turned and approached them with something in his hands. The police fired multiple shots at Clark and he was pronounced dead at the scene, where a cell phone was later discovered.
Since then, Clark’s surviving family has continued to fight for justice in his killing. In January, his relatives filed a $20 million wrongful death suit against the city of Sacramento.
Upon news that civil rights charges won’t be filed against the officers, Clark’s older brother Stevante Clark vowed to press forward.
“We still want people to be held accountable. We don’t want killer cops on our streets, and we will continue to fight for justice,” Stevante Clark said a news conference according to KCRA 3. “Justice delayed it is justice denied. And [Thursday], justice was denied for Stephon Clark — for the third time. And until justice becomes a reality, in not just our community but in communities all over the United States of America, this fight will just continue.”
That same day, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in a press release an internal investigation found no violations of the agency’s policy or training practices and “we are committed to implementing strategies that may prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
He added, “the officers involved in this case will return to full, active duty.”
Previously, it was announced that the officers who shot Stephon Clark won’t face criminal charges in connection to the fatal incident. Earlier this month, Stephon Clark’s two young sons were granted $2.4 million from Sacramento.