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In their words: Reaction to the Stephon Clark decision

This is what police officers witnessed before shooting Stephon Clark, Sacramento DA says

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert describes how officers reacted before shooting Stephon Clark.
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Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert describes how officers reacted before shooting Stephon Clark.

In the wake of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s announcement on Saturday that her office would not be pressing charges against the Sacramento officers involved in the killing of Stephon Clark, reactions from community leaders highlighted the intense emotions surrounding the event. Here’s a sampling what was said:

“Was a crime committed? There is no question that a human being died. But when we look at the facts and the law, the answer to that question is ‘no.’”

Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney

“It was definitely a smear campaign ... and maybe that’s why it took so long for her to announce because she was planning more thoroughly to smear his name.”

Tanya Faison, founder of BLM Sacramento

“This is just the beginning – fight for justice. The fight will begin now.”

Sequette Clark said outside her home after the DA announced charges would not be filed against the officers who shot and killed her son.

“Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to transformational community policing and better training. Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to changing the legal standard from whether a shooting was reasonable to whether it could have been prevented. Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to making sustained and meaningful investments in our neighborhoods and our young people.”

Mayor Darrell Steinberg

“We need to acknowledge the hard truth – our criminal justice system treats black and Latino men and women differently than their white counterparts and that must change.”

– Gov. Gavin Newsom

“It is our responsibility to continually examine all our policies and practices for any opportunity to improve how we police our community. We care committed to that on-going work as a permanent part of who we are as a department.”

– Daniel Hahn, Sacramento Police Chief

“The key and inescapable fact that the DA failed to even acknowledge is that Stephon was shot in the back multiple times. If he was advancing on the officers, why was he shot in the back and the side?”

– Clark family attorney Ben Crump, in a statement

“Taking to the streets becomes the only recourse when public institutions fail to matter to those who are hurting. This free expression should be protected and respected by all those involved. Voices on the street must also become votes in a ballot box, conversations at council and school board meetings, unison song in churches. Hands held while marching must become handshakes among neighbors, hands helping a stranger in need.”

Jaime Soto, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento

“We already know the answer. We knew the answer as soon as those officers went back to work.”

–Mackenzie Wilson, 29, a protester outside the DA’s office before the announcement

“No family should have to live through what Mr. Clark’s family is going through: first traumatized by a system of policing that violently and unjustly takes the lives of unarmed black men at alarming rates and re-traumatized again by a justice system that is set up to sanction these unnecessary killings.”

Lizzie Buchen, a lobbyist for the California American Civil Liberties Union

“Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has failed the public in her most fundamental role. The blood from the murder of #StephonClark is on Anne Marie Schubert’s hands and all those that blindly defend her.”

– The Democratic Party of Sacramento County tweeted after the announcement

“(The decision) is yet another example of DA Schubert’s pattern of declining to prosecute officers who have murdered black people .... Her decision sends a clear and troubling message that police officers are above the law when they kill unarmed black people. We won’t stand for it.”

– Scott Roberts of Color of Change, a national online black advocacy organization

“(The decision will be the) death of her career .... This is going to be a litmus test for the rest of the country.”

– Sonia Lewis, Clark’s cousin, outside the DA’s office before the announcement

“We’re not calling for the system to be brought down, we’re asking for the system to stand up. (...) If a young man can be shot, some of the shots in his back, 300 ft from his grandmother’s bed in her backyard, and the excuse is you thought his cell phone was a gun, then it is those things that bring the system down, we must stand for what is right and stand for what is transparent, not hide them in prosecutors offices.”

– Reverend Al Sharpton, in an MSNBC clip posted to his Twitter

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