After a Sacramento prosecutor decided the police officers who gunned down unarmed Stephon Clark would not be prosecuted, the city’s mayor apologized to grieving family members and promised to enact new measures on how cops make arrests.
“How do I as your Mayor give voice to the pain that is so real and so raw in our community?” Darrell Steinberg said in the address Saturday after District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s announcement that she would not prosecute officers, the Sacramento Bee reports.
“How do I as a relatively privileged white man let my suffering community members know they do not suffer alone — that their elected leaders are genuinely committed to change? How do I step into your shoes?”
After apologizing to the Clark’s family and the community, Steinberg said the department would be working to mend its broken relationship with the community. He also talked about a renewal tax called Measure U and the city’s commitment to contribute $40 million towards disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Steinberg said the city is committed to “making sustained and meaningful investments in our neighborhoods and our young people.”
“The District Attorney said she focused on a simple question. Did the officers who shot Stephon Clark commit a crime? Her answer was no,” Steinberg said. “Our community and its leadership have a different question: Was the outcome wrong and unacceptable. The answer is yes.”
Clark’s family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Sacramento.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on behalf of Clark’s parents, grandparents and children, alleging racial profiling and use of excessive force. The family is seeking damages in excess of $20 million.
The city’s attorney’s office has filed a response to the wrongful death lawsuit and denied all of the allegations made by the family.
On Sunday, Dale Galipo, an attorney for the Clark family, said the city had two options: file a motion to dismiss the suit or file a motion denying the claims in it.
“What they’re saying is, they’re denying our allegations, which is pretty standard,” Galipo said. “But, regarding the timing, it is pretty interesting.”
In the suit, the Clark family charged that Clark, 22, “never verbally threatened anyone and he was unarmed when he was fatally shot multiple times, including numerous shots to his back, shots while he was going to the ground and shots after he had already went down to the ground.
“At the time of the shooting, Stephon Clark posed no imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to either the involved officers or any other person.”
During preliminary settlement discussion back in October, Galipo said, they city denied some of the allegations.
“There were early on general discussions about whether this matter could be resolved,” he said. “There were no numbers exchanged, there were no commitments on either side, but there was never any follow-up from the city so eventually we filed the lawsuit.”
“What really bothers me about the presentation or the suggestion that Stephon Clark wanted to be killed by the police,” Galipo said. “That to me is totally without merit.
“I get it. A lot of people do and say silly things. But does that mean they actually want to kill themselves? And does that mean they want to be killed by the police?
“I don’t believe there’s any evidence of a suicide attempt, and if he wanted to be killed by police he did it in a weird way. He went to his grandparents’ house and was knocking on the door trying to get let in.”
Steinberg believes there needs to be improvements to how the city polices its community. “It’s time for us to take another look at a law that’s over 100 years old to better protect both officers and members of our community.”