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New $1.7M Settlement In Police Killing of Sacramento's Clark

The city of Sacramento will pay $1.7 million to the parents of Stephon Clark, an unarmed Black man who was shot seven times by city police officers in 2018. The payment settled a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by his parents and ends the family’s legal action against the city, said city attorney, Susana Alcala Wood, reports the New York Times. Clark was 22 when two Sacramento police officers chased him into his grandmother’s backyard and shot at him 20 times, killing him. His death ignited widespread protests and prompted the city and the state to change their policies around the use of deadly force by police officers. In 2019, the city agreed to pay $2.4 million to Clark’s two sons, then 2 and 5, after his family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city and the two officers.

The two officers, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, did not face criminal prosecution and remain on the job. They officers had been dispatched to investigate reports of a person breaking car windows. The police department said Clark ignored officers’ orders to stop. The officers chased him and Clark fled into his grandparents’ backyard. Officers fired at Clark, the department said, because they believed he was holding a gun. Clark was unarmed, and a cellphone was found under his body. Clark was hit by at least seven bullets. An analysis of police video footage found that the police officers continued to shoot Clark after he had fallen to his hands and knees. Investigations by the city, county and state and federal agencies found that the officers acted within police rules and state laws. Clark’s death prompted California to raise the standard for when police can use deadly force to “only when necessary in defense of human life.” Previously, the law allowed for the use of deadly force when “reasonable.”


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