City Beat

Another Sacramento councilman criticizes police shooting of Stephon Clark

'We see judge, jury and executioner'

Sacramento community activist Barry Accius speaks at Tuesday's city council meeting as people address the council with their concerns about the Stephon Clark shooting.
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Sacramento community activist Barry Accius speaks at Tuesday's city council meeting as people address the council with their concerns about the Stephon Clark shooting.

A second Sacramento City Council member is criticizing the actions of the police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark last month and said he assumes they will face disciplinary action.

In a meeting with The Sacramento Bee editorial board on Friday, Councilman Jay Schenirer said Clark "should not be dead" and that "we need to hold ourselves accountable, we need to hold the Police Department accountable."

"We've got to figure out what went wrong so we can make sure this doesn’t happen again," he said. "If officers need to be disciplined, that will all happen. I assume that will happen."

Asked why the officers would be disciplined, Schenirer said that was his opinion after watching video footage of the shooting.

"(The officers') reactions were, I think, too quick," he said.

At an emotional City Council meeting on Tuesday, Councilman Larry Carr said the shooting of Clark "just doesn't look right." He told The Bee the next day that several aspects of the shooting troubled him, including the fact that officers fired 20 shots at Clark and waited several minutes to provide him with medical aid.

Carr represents Meadowview, where Clark was shot and killed March 18 by officers who were responding to a report of a car burglar.

Schenirer, who represents Oak Park, Curtis Park, Hollywood Park and other south Sacramento communities, said the Police Department's training may be to blame for the shooting.

"It's systemic," he said. "It may be (the officers), it may not be them. We have to make systemic changes in what we're doing."

He said he has also been "very dissatisfied" with how the past two City Council meetings have been conducted.

"I don't think it should be at City Hall, I don’t think it should be two minutes per person (to address the council in public testimony)," he said. "I've argued from day one we should be out at the Pannell Center (in Meadowview), we should be out in the community, we should be at the same level as everyone and none of this power stuff because we're sitting up on top of everybody (on an elevated dais at the council chambers)."

He said security issues have prevented meetings from being moved.

Schenirer's primary opponent in the June 5 election, Oak Park neighborhood activist and early childhood education teacher Tamika L'Ecluse, told the Bee's editorial board she is "highly disappointed" in the conduct of the officers who shot Clark.

"There are still investigations that must happen and I definitely want to respect the process, but I think that our response was not appropriate to this person, especially given the entry points of those bullets," she said. "We cannot deny it, that there was excessive force."

A private autopsy showed Clark was hit by eight bullets, including six in his back.

"I think that it was a really unfortunate event," L'Ecluse said. "I'm disappointed in those officers' conduct. I want to see them be responsible for their actions."

"I'm disappointed because you could tell there was fear (on the part of the officers), just from the video, from the language, from the communications, there was a lack of training," she added.

A third candidate in the race, disability rights activist Joseph Barry, said he "understands police have a very hard job to do." But he said the officers who shot Clark should be fired.

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