The Latest: California won't charge police in Clark killing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the California attorney general’s decision on whether to charge officers who killed an unarmed black man last year (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Sacramento’s mayor and police chief are investigating the actions of police during a Monday night protest that resulted in 84 arrests.

Protesters were demonstrating in response to the Sacramento County district attorney’s decision not to criminally charge two Sacramento police officers who fatally shot Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, last year.

Speakers at a City Council meeting Tuesday say police were overly aggressive, pushing and sometimes striking protesters and ramming them with bikes. The Rev. Kevin Kitrell Ross says officers trapped protesters trying to leave. Among the people arrested were clergy, and a Sacramento Bee reporter was detained. Police say no one was taken to the hospital. 

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Police Chief Daniel Hahn says the large number of protests was unusual, and the department is reviewing body camera footage. Mayor Darrell Steinberg has called for an independent investigation.

The police said Monday night the protesters were unlawfully assembled and that at least five vehicles were keyed during the protest.

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2:30 p.m.

Federal authorities are opening their own investigation into Sacramento police officers’ fatal shooting last year of an unarmed black vandalism suspect.

U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott and Sean Ragan, who heads the FBI’s Sacramento office, said Tuesday that they will examine whether the slaying of 22-year-old Stephon Clark violated his federal civil rights.

The review will be conducted along with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

The announcement came immediately after California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that he would not file criminal charges against the two officers.

It came three days after Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert ruled out charges, leading to renewed protests.

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Both prosecutors say the evidence shows the officers had reason to believe their lives were endangered, though investigators found only a cellphone.

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12:30 p.m.

California’s attorney general says a nearly yearlong investigation shows that Sacramento police believed they were in danger when they fatally shot an unarmed black man who refused commands and moved toward officers with something in his hand.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference Tuesday that he won’t charge two officers in the killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark last year.

Becerra has emphasized the need for changes and called Clark’s death a “devastating loss.” He met with Clark’s mother before announcing his decision.

He says Clark had broken car windows and a neighbor’s sliding glass door and refused police orders to stop and show his hands.

After the officers’ chased him into his grandparents’ backyard, Becerra says Clark moved closer to police with what officers believed to be a gun. That’s when they opened fire.

Investigators found only a cellphone.

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12:05 p.m.

California’s attorney general won’t charge two Sacramento police officers who shot and killed an unarmed black man last year.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s announcement Tuesday follows a prosecutor’s finding that the two officers broke no laws when they shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark.

Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet say they mistakenly thought Clark was approaching them with a gun after he ran into his grandparents’ backyard as police investigated vandalism.

Investigators found only a cellphone.

Clark’s killing prompted intense protests last year in California’s capital city and demonstrations nationwide.

Clark’s family and black leaders urged Becerra to reach a different conclusion than the local prosecutor.

That decision this weekend renewed protests and has increased support for changing the state’s legal standard for when police can kill.

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9:50 a.m.

California’s attorney general is preparing to announce whether his office will file criminal charges against two Northern California police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark last year.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra will announce his decision Tuesday.

It follows Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s announcement Saturday that the officers broke no laws when they shot the 22-year-old Clark.

Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet say they thought Clark was approaching them with a gun.

They were pursuing him in response to calls about someone breaking windows.

Investigators found only a cellphone. Clark was shot in his grandparent’s backyard.

Clark’s family and black community leaders have urged Becerra to reach a different conclusion.

More than 80 people were arrested Monday night during a protest following Schubert’s decision.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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