The city of Sacramento will pay the parents of Stephon Clark, a man shot and killed by police, $1.7 million in settlement following a federal lawsuit filed by the family, according to KCRA 3 News. This settlement marks the end of legal actions against the city, according to the family’s attorney.
Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times by Sacramento police officers who chased him into his grandmother’s backyard after mistaking his phone for a firearm. He was 22 when he was killed. In 2019, the city paid $2.5 million to Clark’s two sons, ages 2 and 5, in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family against the city and the two officers. Clark’s parents were the sole remaining plaintiffs, per a later court ruling.
“The decision to resolve the case through a negotiated agreement comes after careful consideration of all options. We believe this is the best path forward for all involved parties including our community,” said City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood via Sacramento City Express.
More on the complaint from The New York Times:
The two officers who shot Mr. Clark, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, did not face criminal prosecution. Both officers are still employed by the police department, a police spokesman said.
The police department said that Mr. Clark ignored officers’ orders to stop. The officers chased him and Mr. Clark fled into his grandparents’ backyard, the department said.
Officers then fired at Mr. Clark, the department said, because they believed he was holding a gun. Mr. Clark was unarmed, and a cellphone was found under his body.
The officers shot at Mr. Clark 20 times. He was hit by at least seven bullets, according to an autopsy released by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office in 2018.
An analysis of police video footage by The New York Times found that the police officers continued to shoot Mr. Clark after he had fallen to his hands and knees.
Many police brutality suits end up in multi-million dollar settlements to cover up the lack of police accountability. Though the family agreed to end legal action against the city with this settlement, Clark’s brother is still pushing for Officers Mercadal and Robinet to be brought to justice.
“There’s no reason I should be out here talking about my brother’s legacy, defending my brother’s legacy, when the officers who murdered him should be proving their innocence in court. We always have to relive the death of Stephon,” said Stevante Clark via KCRA.
Reports say since the shooting, the city responded with changes to their police department including updates to body-camera and foot-chase policies and new development regarding a comprehensive use-of-force policy.
“The fact that the officers acted within the law does not diminish the tragedy of what occurred. This case has led our City to implement meaningful improvements to policy, and it will continue to do so,” said attorney Alcala Wood.