After weeks of waiting, Sacramento’s District Attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, on March 2 announced that there would be no charges brought against officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet for the killing of Stephon Clark.
We now know why the DA’s investigation took just under a year to complete. She was not busy building a potential case against the two cops seen on video killing Stephon Clark last year. Instead, she built a case against Stephon Clark in order to absolve the two officers of any wrongdoing. Since police never found a gun at the scene, Schubert did her best to weaponize the contents of Clark’s phone.
Stephon Clark was not a paid employee of the city responsible to its citizens for providing protection, as the cops that killed him were. Why is he, a man in his own backyard, under more scrutiny from the DA than the two officers who fired more than 20 shots? How can the killer cops be considered fit for duty when they cannot tell the difference between the flash of a cell phone screen and the flash of a gunshot?
Only when a young Black man “fits the description” does a cell phone suddenly look like a gun. This becomes state sanctioned violence when the officer’s actions are legally approved by the DA. This is a pattern we have seen play out across the country in numerous cases of police terror. The same excuses used by the Sacramento DA are used coast to coast to justify the actions of killer cops. Below are just a few examples taken from DA Schubert’s announcement on Saturday.
“He was on drugs.”
The DA would like to distract attention away from the video evidence that clearly shows Stephon Clark on the phone and not a threat.
It also brings up the fact that cops aren’t drug tested despite having daily access to numerous types of illegal narcotics and steroids. The toxicology of police officers never comes into question even after they take a life. Yet the victim is put under the microscope in search of any justification for their killing.
“He was having relationship issues.”
The DA cited text messages and phone calls between Stephon Clark and the mother of his two children as evidence that Clark was a threat. At no time did the officers have any knowledge of these exchanges. This is a clear attempt at character assassination, trying to paint Clark as somehow desperate and thus worthy of being executed.
What the DA failed to disclose was that domestic violence amongst police officers is far higher than the national average. Yet this documented statistic was not once considered a factor in them pulling the trigger on an unarmed man.
“He was acting aggressively.”
This is central to the entire police narrative from the start. Initial reports said that Clark had lunged at the officers with a gun. After searching the scene and finding no gun, a “tool bar” was reported to have been the weapon used to threaten the police. However, body camera and helicopter footage showed Clark clearly holding no such item. Instead, he was in his own backyard holding a cell phone. Only after this irrefutable evidence did the police narrative shift from him having a gun to the cops thinking he had a gun. For the District Attorney, this thought alone was enough to justify Stephon Clark’s execution. The message being sent is clear: standing on the phone in your backyard is enough of a threat for Sacramento PD to kill you.
“He posed an immediate threat to the officers.”
In reality, the person who had the most reason to fear for their life that night was Stephon Clark. But while the DA asserted in her announcement that any citizen that fears for their life has the right to use deadly force, if Stephon Clark had fired upon the two officers that night (with a gun he didn’t have) as they entered his property, we all know that the DA would be in court with an indictment the next day. This only shows once again the two-tiered legal system that exists not just in Sacramento, but throughout the United States.
These officers are back on the street after this bloody execution. How do they not pose a threat to any other Black man on a cell phone in his own backyard? How can residents expect to feel safe knowing that this could happen to them or their loved ones any day? We must stand up against this police terror and demand not just justice for every stolen life but also an end to the system that produces these tragedies.