California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is poised to release the results of his Stephon Clark shooting investigation at 11 a.m. Tuesday, three days after Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced she would not file criminal charges against the two Sacramento police officers who shot him to death one year ago.
Becerra’s office schedule a news conference at his office as Sacramento officials contend with growing unrest among activists angered over the death of Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man who was shot holding a cell phone that officers say they mistook for a gun.
Since Schubert’s announcement Saturday, activists have marched to police headquarters, staged a sit-in that prompted the closure Sunday of Arden Fair mall – the city’s largest shopping center – and spawned a chaotic march Monday night through East Sacramento that resulted in 84 arrests and scenes of officers in riot gear marching shoulder to shoulder through the wealthy Fabulous 40s neighborhood.
More protests are expected Tuesday, with one march directed at police headquarters again and demonstrators expected to flood into City Hall, where a council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
Monday night’s protests included the arrests of prominent clergy leaders and others who found themselves being accused of failure to disperse after police tried to shut the march down because of reports that five cars in the East Sacramento neighborhood had been keyed.
Becerra has said he would conduct his own investigation into the officers’ actions, but has given no hints of whether he will follow the urging of activists and charge the two offices in the shooting, which took place after Clark fled from them in Meadowview as they were investigating reports of a man breaking car windows.
Clark was later determined to be the suspect, and Schubert’s investigation concluded the officers thought he was in a shooting position holding his cell phone out at them when they fired 20 shots, striking him at least six times.
Still pending is a review of both Schubert’s and Becerra’s investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, as well as a $20 million federal lawsuit the Clark family has filed against the city of Sacramento and the officers.
In January, Becerra released a report urging the Sacramento Police Department to adopt sweeping changes in its use of force training and dozens of other areas. The 96-page report – which studied studied 18 officer-involved shootings over a nearly five-year period but including the Clark incident – offered 49 recommendations for changes in department policies.
A second report, not yet released, will focus on non-deadly use of force, recruitment and prevention of bias, among other areas, Becerra said, noting that Sacramento police already have adopted a number of overhauls that include the use of body cameras on all officers, the public release of videos and improvements in its foot-chase policy.