Sacramento officers Terrence Mercadal and Jarad Robinet will not face criminal charges in the March 2018 shooting death of Stephon Clark, which reignited ripe frustration among many in the community and nationwide.
According to the New York Times, the Sacramento County district attorney made the announcement Saturday (March 2) and acknowledged that Clark was dead, but justified the actions of the officers involved.
“Was a crime committed? There’s no question that a human being died,” District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said. “But when we look at the facts and the law, and we follow our ethical responsibilities, the answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers.”
On March 18, Mercadal and Robinet responded to a vandalism call in the area and within 10 minutes, after a brief pursuit, Clark was dead. The officers fired their weapons a reported 20 times in Clark’s direction, striking him about seven times. An analysis of the police video footage by the Times concluded a majority of the bullets hit Clark as he was falling or already on the ground.
“We must recognize that they are often forced to make split-second decisions,” Schubert said. “We must also recognize that they are under tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances.”
Three minutes after the shooting the officers identified themselves and nearly six minutes later is when Clark received medical attention. The cops said they believed Clark had a gun. It was later deduced Clark was unarmed and was carrying his cellphone. The 22-year-old leaves behind two sons.
In the wake of Clark’s death, former NBA player Matt Barnes launched a college scholarship for his children. “How do we explain to our kids that because of the color of your skin people aren’t going to like you? That’s not fair, but that’s what we have to explain to our kids every day.”