Local Elections

Stevante Clark, brother of Stephon Clark, running for mayor of Sacramento

The brother of Stephon Clark, the African-American man shot by Sacramento city police in March, has taken a formal step toward running for mayor in the 2020 election.

Paperwork was filed Monday with the California Secretary of State opening two campaign finance committees for Stevante Clark, one citing a mayoral bid in the next general election. Details of those filings were not immediately available online.

Stevante Clark, 25, is the older brother of Stephon Clark. Stephon Clark was unarmed but holding a cellphone when he was shot to death by Sacramento police Sunday, March 18, in the backyard of his grandmother’s home. Bodycam video of the shooting released by the police department unleashed massive protests in the city starting March 23.

Protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 5 and the entrance of Golden 1 Center, drawing national attention to the death and adding to the debate about the treatment of African-American people by law enforcement across the county.

“I don’t have the most experience, I’m not the smartest guy,” Stevante Clark said Tuesday. “At the same time, I’m from the city of Sacramento and if there’s anybody who’s going to listen to the people of Sacramento and who knows the problems of Sacramento, it’s me. Even though I did decide to run for mayor after the death of my brother, I’m not making this about me in retribution and revenge.”

Clark has spoken often in the months since his brother’s death about his desire to pursue a political career. He has also been a vocal critic of the city, its police department and Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

If elected, Clark told The Sacramento Bee he would work to improve life in the city’s “underdeveloped communities.”

Clark said he wants to open resource centers in his brother’s name in South Sacramento, Del Paso Heights and other neighborhoods with high poverty rates. The centers would offer job training, computer labs, recreational opportunities, childcare, mentoring programs, and mental health therapists, he said.

“Mental health is one of the biggest things I want to combat,” he said.

Clark was placed on multiple mental health holds by authorities after his brother’s death. In one highly-publicized incident, he jumped on the dais at City Hall during a crowded meeting and told Steinberg to “Shut the f--- up.”

He has since apologized to Steinberg, and has said the trauma of his brother’s death caused mental health issues, for which he received treatment in April.

Clark plans to propose a set of police reforms called the Clark Family Act to city leaders in the coming weeks, he said. As part of that, he proposes the city hire more police officers of color who grew up in urban areas

”They don’t necessarily have to be from South Sacramento, but officers of color from Oakland’s urban areas or LA’s urban areas,” Clark said. “Officers who know the struggle, who know where the people of those neighborhoods come from.”

Clark also proposes the department require more training for officers in use of force, implicit bias and gang politics, he said. He also suggested more community outreach, including weekly ride-along programs for youth.

He also said the city should put more money toward building new affordable housing, including some of the revenue from the new Measure U sales tax.

To decrease gang violence, Clark wants the city to adopt a program where former gang members recently released from long jail sentences can mentor young people who are engaged in gang activity to help them get out, he said. As an incentive, he wants the city to provide stipends to both the mentors and mentees.

Clark also said he wants trash on the city’s streets to be cleaned faster, and wants more electric vehicle charging stations installed.

Many of Clark’s proposals are similar to programs underway in the city. Sacramento police have increased training and access to non-lethal weapons. They have also implemented more crisis intervention training after the 2016 shooting of Joseph Mann, a black man armed with a knife, on Del Paso Boulevard. The city also has partnered with Richmond-based Advance Peace for a violence reduction mentoring program targeted at gang members.

The city is currently in the process of installing more electric vehicle charging stations, and recently announced an electric vehicle program aimed at low-income communities.

Clark said he is familiar with the city’s programs, but said his proposals would be better for residents.

“They don’t do enough where it’s effective,” he said.

Clark lives in Meadowview, in the home where his brother was shot, but he has also lived in several other city neighborhoods in other council districts, he said.

Clark works as a mentor, tutor and public speaker for the Natomas-based Black Child Legacy Campaign and the North Sacramento-based Roberts Family Development Center, he said. Both organizations work to reduce the disproportionate number of black children dying in Sacramento County, among other goals.

Before that, Clark worked as a political consultant on the gubernatorial campaign for Nickolas Wildstar, a Libertarian candidate who received 11,566 votes in the June primary.

If he loses, Clark said he plans to move out of state.

Due to an editing error, this article was modified and republished Nov. 20 at 3 a.m. An original version was published Nov. 19.

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