Police Arrest Protesters After No Charges for Officers Who Killed Stephon Clark

By Shani Saxon Mar 05, 2019

A group of protesters gathered on a highway overpass in East Sacramento on Monday night (March 4) after it was announced on Saturday (March 2) that no charges would be filed against the two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed unarmed Black man Stephon Clark on March 18, 2018, per The Washington Post.

As Colorlines previously reported, two Sacramento Police Department officers—Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet—entered Clark’s backyard after receiving a call about a person breaking car windows nearby. Within seconds, the officers fired 20 shots at the 22-year-old father of two, hitting him with eight bullets—six of which entered his back. Officers said they started shooting because Clark was armed with a gun. But it was later discovered he was only holding an iPhone.

The decision not to prosecute the two officers sparked outrage and protests. At a news conference held Saturday (March 2), Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert addressed the reasoning behind the decision. "We must recognize that [police officers] are often forced to make split-second decisions," she said. "We must also recognize that they are under tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances. That is the crux of this whole case: Did the officers have an honest and reasonable belief they needed to defend themselves? In this case, the officers believed they did." 

At Monday’s march, police arrested 84 protesters and Sacramento Bee journalist Dale Kasler, according to The Post. Officers claim the crowd "ignored orders to leave the streets and that some were suspected of keying cars during the march."

According to a report from The Sacramento Bee, roughly 100 people gathered to march Monday night in "one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city of Sacramento and home to many influential leaders in city and state government." During the protest, some marchers reportedly got into an argument with a man wearing a Make America Great Again hat. One protester allegedly grabbed the man’s hat, which led to a small struggle, causing police to intervene. Roughly three hours into the march, officers "began demanding that the crowd disperse," but the protesters instead continued on to the Highway 50 overpass. Kasler says officers told him, "’When doing mass detention, these kinds of things, we don’t pick and choose. Everybody goes.’"

Sacramento Police Sergeant Vance Chandler told reporters that "most of the protesters would be charged with failing to disperse, though at least one also faced charges of resisting arrest."