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Stephon Clark activists turn focus to persuading CA attorney general to charge officers

Stephon Clark activists are turning their focus to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Monday, delivering a letter to state Justice Department officials urging Becerra to file criminal charges against the Sacramento police officers who shot Clark last March.

The Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People’s Alliance for Justice and a representative of Clark’s girlfriend and their two young children, plans to deliver a letter to Becerra’s staff at his I Street offices downtown and hold a news conference afterward in the latest effort to generate pressure over the issue.

Becerra has been conducting his own investigation of the shooting and is expected to announce the results soon, following the Saturday decision by Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert not to file charges in the case.

Harris, who earlier delivered a letter to Schubert urging charges against Officers Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet, plans a similar effort with the attorney general.

“He plans to kick the week of protests off in Sacramento, CA, by delivering this timely letter urging the State AG to prosecute officers before the one year anniversary of Stephon Clark,” the alliance announced in a news release early Monday.

Clark, 22, was shot to death by two Sacramento police officers on March 18, 2018, after being chased into the backyard of his grandparents’ Meadowview home. Police say they believed he was breaking into cars and ignored their shouts to stop.

When they confronted him in the dark backyard after 9 p.m., the officers have told investigators they believed he was in a shooting stance and pointing a gun at them. They fired 20 shots, striking him at least six times. Investigators later found he was carrying only a cellphone.

Protests over the shooting have continued since then, and were amplified by Schubert’s Saturday announcement that the shooting did not warrant criminal charges.

That decision sent protesters in the streets again, first to a gathering outside Sacramento police headquarters Saturday, then to a sit-in at Arden Fair mall that led to the closure of the city’s largest shopping center on Sunday.

City officials are bracing for more possible protests as Sacramento Kings games are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday nights and the City Council meets Tuesday.

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Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.
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