The city of Sacramento will pay $1.7 million to the parents of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed Black man killed at the hands of police in March 2018, city attorney Susana Alcala Wood said on Friday (August 12).
The seven-figure settlement agreed upon by Sacramento and Clark's parents marks the end of the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the family and their legal action against the city, the New York Times reports.
On the night of March 18, 2018, Clark was chased by two Sacramento police officers and shot at 20 times in his grandmother's backyard.
His death sparked nationwide unrest and prompted the city and state police departments to change their policies on the use of deadly force.
In October 2019, the city agreed to pay Clark's sons $2.4 million after his family took legal action against the city and the two officers involved in the shooting via a wrongful-death lawsuit.
A court ruling that followed the payout left Clark's parents as the sole remaining plaintiffs, Wood said in a statement.
Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, the officers who fatally shot Clark, didn't face criminal charges and are still employed by the department, a police spokesman said.
On the night of Clark's death, Mercadal and Robinet were responding to reports of a person breaking car windows in a Sacramento neighborhood.
According to the police department, the 22-year-old ignored the officers' orders to stop. The two proceeded to chase Clark as he fled into his grandparents' backyard, per the department.
Officers then fired at Clark, who they believed was armed.
However, when he was found at the scene, there was no weapon and only a cellphone under his body.
Investigations by city, county, state, and federal agencies following the fatal shooting found the officers acted lawfully.
Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, said in a statement on Friday that he would continue to call for the two officers to be fired and prosecuted.
“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,” Stevante Clark said. “We always have to relive the death of Stephon.”
In the aftermath of Clark's death, California raised the legal standard for police using deadly force from when "reasonable" to “only when necessary in defense of human life.”
“Stephon Clark’s death was a tragedy that brought pain and sorrow to his family and to our entire city,” Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement addressing the settlement. “Everyone wishes this heartbreaking event had not occurred.”
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.