California’s Attorney General said on Tuesday he has found no grounds to take two Sacramento cops to trial for shooting an unarmed black man to death last year.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he agreed that the two cops had reason to believe the man they shot to death 20 times, Stephon Clark, 22, posed a lethal threat to them, despite the fact he was unarmed.
Members of Clark’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the cops and Sacramento in January, accusing them of racial profiling and excessive force.
The decision not to prosecute rested on the claim that the cops mistook the light from Clark’s cell phone for a muzzle flash from a gun. The claim angered community activists and touched off protests in Sacramento, California.
Following the decision, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said his office will conduct an investigation into the shooting, to determine whether it constituted a violation of Clark’s civil rights.
Becerra said his findings hinged largely on video from police, the same chilling images captured in the footage sparked outrage over police use of deadly force.
Clark, a father of two, was killed on March 18, 2018, in his grandparents’ backyard in a hail of 20 bullets fired by the two officers responding to a report of someone smashing car windows on the street.
Video footage from the cops’ body cams and a police helicopter showed Clark being cornered in the yard. Becerra said investigators concluded that when cops confronted Clark he disregarded commands to show his hands.
The release of the video following the incident ignited two weeks of demonstrations in Sacramento last year and the decision not to prosecute has renewed protests and outrage.