The federal government has declined to pursue civil rights charges against the Sacramento police officers who fatally shot unarmed, Black man #StephonClark.
Stephon’s murder made world news headlines back in 2018. The 22-year-old was shot dead by police officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet in his grandmother’s backyard. Stephon’s killing sparked protests and national outrage amongst the Black community. However, the U.S. Attorney’s office and FBI said a federal review of the 2018 shooting found “insufficient evidence” to pursue charges against Officers. Both will be returned to active duty.
Back in March, the California attorney general’s office declined to issue state criminal charges after a year of investigating, according to USA Today. Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the officers were justified in killing Stephon because they had reason to believe their lives were in danger when Stephon allegedly approached them with what they thought was a gun. Investigators found only a cell phone.
Sacramento police also announced Thursday their internal investigation did not find any policy or training violations. “Although no policy violations occurred in this incident or in the events leading up to it, we are committed to implementing strategies that may prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in a statement. Stephon was shot seven times.
According to USA Today, the federal investigation looked at evidence such as witness statements, audio, and video recordings, dispatch records, police reports, and autopsy reports to determine whether the officers acted willfully with the intent to use objectively unreasonable force.