Mayor Steinberg calls for change in use-of-force standard following DA's decision on Stephon Clark
Mayor Steinberg joined by Vice Mayor Eric Guerra, Councilmember Rick Jennings, Councilmember Jay Schenirer, Councilmember Steve Hansen, Pastor Tamara Bennett and Pastor Ray Green for brief remarks following the decision by District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert not to prosecute the officers involved in the shooting of Stephon Clark.
Below is a condensed version of Mayor Steinberg’s remarks:
To respond in a fair and complete way to today’s announcement by the District Attorney, we must be clear that the Stephon Clark case is not the first time our community and communities throughout our country have faced the situation of an officer involved shooting where the person who died did not in fact have a gun.
What I say to you now is less about the DA’s conclusions today and more about how to best prevent these tragedies from happening over and over again.
Today, the District Attorney said she focused on a single question: Did the officers who shot Stephon Clark commit a crime? Her answer was no.
Our community and its leadership have different questions: Was the outcome wrong and was the outcome unacceptable.
The answer to both questions is yes.
Today’s announcement is not a surprise. What matters most now is what we do going forward together.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to protecting the sanctity of all life.
Today’s announcement only deepens our collective commitment to transformational community policing and better training. We must see the work we have been doing — for example, the relatively immediate release of video evidence, the requirement for body worn cameras, the new foot pursuit policy that makes foot pursuit a last resort — as only the beginning, not the end.
I think police officers have a very tough job. They put their lives on the line and at the same time have an awesome power to take a life. 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.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to changing the long-held standard that allows officers to shoot when objectively reasonable to a clearer set of specific rules and standards that requires officers to do all they can to prevent a potentially lethal confrontation in the first place. I will use my influence, my time and my experience as a former legislative leader to help the parties change the standard to better protect both the community and our officers.
Today’s announcement only deepens our commitment to making sustained and meaningful investments in our neighborhoods and our young people.
We must come together now to ensure that this is a tipping point for our community, not a breaking point.
Stephon Clark should not have died, and I am sorry for the deep pain his family has suffered. The family has requested that we please respect their wish for privacy at this difficult time.
If Sacramento is going to truly be a beacon of equality, then every community must feel equally safe.
Stephon’s death must be the catalyst for the kind of change that people will look back upon and say, out of the depths of pain and anger, and injustice, came hope, peace, and real equity for our people.