Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren released a critical statement Tuesday condemning Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and the Sacramento Police Department for their actions following the DA’s announcement last week clearing the two officers who shot Stephon Clark in March 2018.
In a letter titled “We Can Do Better,” Warren said the police killings of Clark and Joseph Mann, who was shot by police in 2016, “in my opinion demonstrate an insensitivity and an outright disrespect for the lives of black people.”
He recounted an experience in his youth in which he knew a young black man who was killed by police and how the death continues to pain his family to this day.
“The tragedies continue to plague our communities,” he said. “... I hurt for the Clark family,”
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Warren specifically took issue with Schubert’s decision to release text messages exchanged between Clark and his girlfriend, Salena Manni, two days before his death. The texts suggested Clark was in distress after an alleged domestic violence dispute and was researching suicide on the internet.
“I condemn the public portrayal of Stephon Clark by our District Attorney as suicidal,” he said in the statement.
Warren, who represents north Sacramento communities including Del Paso Heights and Strawberry Manor, also called out the Sacramento Police Department for arresting 84 protesters last week, including journalists, for marching in the Fabulous 40s neighborhood in reaction to the announcement.
Schubert said Friday her office will not charge the protesters arrested.
Warren added that “Sacramento is recognized for its diversity yet continues to fail to address the socioeconomic and criminal justice inequities of black people.”
To rectify this, he asked residents of Sacramento to elect leadership who would “fight against inequities,” and demand City Manager Howard Chan to enact policies that “correct inequities that exist within our City structure that disproportionately impact black people.”
Police Chief Daniel Hahn reports directly to Chan.
He said he wants Measure U funds, a one percent sales tax that voters approved last fall, be dedicated to “communities that have been left behind” and not at the whim of the interest of whoever is in power.
He also called for people to support legislation that “disincentivize the use of deadly force by police officers against people of color and all human beings.”
Warren’s statement was released a day after the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission unanimously passed a motion advising City Council to support Assembly Bill 392, a controversial bill that elevates the threshold for deadly force from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
“In the last couple of years we’ve seen high profile killings of very questionable situations by our Sacramento Police Department and although they’ve been found to be justifiable in the legal sense, I do not see them as justified,” Warren told The Sacramento Bee by phone late Tuesday. “... We have to make it such that it is not as easily and as justifiable to kill unarmed people.”
“Sacramento as one of the most diverse cities in the countries, we could do better,” he said. “We should do better.”