‘Our hearts are shattered.’ Stephon Clark family vows to pursue justice

Stevante Clark denounced Sacramento police and District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert on Sunday, saying the decision not to file charges against the officers who killed his unarmed 22-year-old brother Stephon a year ago left the family “sad and suffering.”

“Our hearts are shattered,” Stevante Clark said at a news conference with family members and the Rev. Tecoy Porter Sr. at Genesis Church on Meadowview Road.

Clark also questioned why Schubert, who announced her decision Saturday, had revealed highly personal information about his brother and Stephon Clark’s girlfriend, including evidence that Stephon Clark was suicidal after a domestic violence incident two days before he was shot by officers on March 18, 2018.

“It’s a way to vilify my brother,” Stevante Clark said. “No matter what he did on the 16th or 17th, these things are irrelevant to the situation.

“We’re not sitting here talking about what he had for dinner on the 16th. It doesn’t matter.”

Schubert and legal experts have said the information is relevant to explaining the evidence that led her to decide the officers had a legitimate fear for their lives when they fired on him in his grandmother’s backyard. Officers told investigators they believed Stephon Clark was pointing a gun at them and was in a shooting stance; he was found to be carrying only a cellphone.

Anger over the personal revelations contributed to the raw emotions many community members expressed in the wake of Schubert’s decision, and Stevante Clark said he had little hope Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is conducting his own review of the shooting, will come to a different conclusion.

“We don’t know, but at the same time we want to have faith in the criminal justice system,” he said, adding that he wants the officers fired from the city and prosecuted by Becerra.

Stevante Clark said the family has joined forces with the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to create a “legacy weekend” for his brother on the one-year anniversary of his death.

The legacy weekend will begin with a 6 p.m. event at the Sam and Bonnie Pannell Community Center on Meadowview Road and conclude on the one-year anniversary – March 18 – with a remembrance at Genesis Church from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sharpton spoke at Stephon Clark’s funeral last year, where he vowed to continue fighting for the Clark family. Sharpton’s National Action Network focuses on criminal justice reform and police accountability. Sharpton returned to Sacramento six months after the shooting to join the family in again calling for justice.

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Tony Bizjak has been reporting for The Bee for 30 years. He covers transportation, housing and development and previously was the paper’s City Hall beat reporter.