SACRAMENTO, Calif. — "The outcome was wrong, he should not have died," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Saturday, moments after District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced officers involved in the shooting death of Stephon Clark would not be criminally charged.
"The Stephon Clark case is not the first time our community and communities across the country have faced the situation of an officer-involved shooting where the person who died, did not, in fact, have a gun," Steinberg said, that his announcement is less about the district attorney's decision and more about how to prevent these tragedies from happening again.
During her announcement, the district attorney said she focused the investigation on a single question, "did the officers who shot Stephon Clark commit a crime?" Her answer was no, which led to her decision to not file charges against the officers.
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: Shooting death of Stephon Clark and aftermath
- No criminal charges against officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark
The mayor said Sacramento must focus on whether the outcome was wrong and "was the outcome unacceptable?" He said the answer to both of those questions is yes.
GOING FORWARD, TOGETHER
"Today's announcement is not a surprise," Steinberg said. "What matters most now is what we do going forward, together."
The "relatively immediate" release of video evidence, requirement for body cameras and change in foot pursuit policy - to make it last resort, not a first - are examples of what the mayor calls "transformational community policing and better training."
But as a nation, he said, there is still much that needs to be changed.
"The current 100-year-old standard defining officer-involved shootings needs to change," Steinberg said. "Today's announcement only deepens my commitment to changing that long-held standard that allows officers to shoot, when "objectively reasonable."
Steinberg said the rules for officers must change and must adhere to a set of specific standards that require officers to do all they can to prevent a potentially lethal confrontation in the first place.
COMMUNITY SAFE ZONES
"We must come together now to ensure that this is a tipping point for our community, not a breaking point," Steinberg said. "If Sacramento is going to be a true beacon of equality, then every community must feel equally safe. Stephon's death must be the catalyst for the kind of change that people will look back upon and say - out of the depths of pain, anger and injustice, came hope, peace and real equity for our people."
To help the community move forward since Clark's death, Councilman Rick Jennings has led weekly meetings with community leaders to conceptualize how to get to that future of equality. Through those meetings, they have arranged safe zones to assist the community.
"Healing spaces that kids can go to to get a better understand, parents can go to to get an education on how to address the anger, frustration and emotion that is going on with them right now," Councilman Jennings said. "And have the experts there to be able to address that."
Several safe zone locations were shared with the community at today's conference. The zones will be available to families and young people looking for somewhere to go to talk about their feelings following the Stephon Clark decision.
Pastor Tamara Bennett said the safe zones are gathering places, "where we can come together, where we can share our hurt, even our disappointment...but to also speak about policy and reform — and how can we avoid this from ever happening again."
Through tears and emotion, Bennett went on to say that she appreciates the Sacramento police chief for being candid, and thanked Mayor Steinberg for his efforts to bring the community together for a solution.
The hashtag above is being used on social media in conjunction with the safe zone meetings. Pastor Ray Green said the hashtag is for all those who have lost their lives and "means that we are coming together."
SAFE ZONE LOCATIONS
The following safe zones will be open from March 3 through March 6. Check online for the latest updates.
- Always Knocking
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. / 4600 47th Ave., Suite 106, Sacramento
- George Simms Community Center
12 p.m. - 8 p.m. / 6207 Logan St., Sacramento
- Greater Sacramento Urban League
4 p.m. - 7 p.m. / 3725 Marysville Blvd., Sacramento
- South Sacramento Christian Center
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. / 3425 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Sacramento
- Oak Park Community Center
1 p.m. - 7 p.m. / 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Sacramento
So-called “Community Healing Spaces” are also being offered on campus at Sacramento State University each day this week. Those will be open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the MLK Center – Lassen Hall 2201 and at the Multi-Cultural Center – Library 1010 on Friday. Times for each are as follows:
- Monday: MLK Center – 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wednesday: MLK Center – 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Thursday: MLK Center – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Friday: Multi-Cultural Center – 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sac State will also be holding other events on campus, like a healing circle and teach-in on Tuesday and a guest lecture on mass incarceration on Thursday.
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The Clark family expressed outrage at the DA's decision to not file criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting death of Stephon Clark in 2018, with Clark's mother saying, "the fight for justice has just begun."