Stephon Clark’s family wants supporters to back new bill
The family of Stephon Clark are angry over the decision not to charge the police officers who shot and killed him last year.
But they’re also clear about what they want their supporters to do next: Support the passage of a new bill that would ensure no other California family has to suffer the same fate.
In a statement released Saturday on behalf of the Clark family, a close family friend called for supporters to advocate for the passage of Assembly Bill 392, which would change police use of force policies and require officers to attempt de-escalation prior to using lethal force.
“Stephon would be alive today if the officers had followed this policy,” Jamilia Land, who’s also a member of the California Families United for Justice, said in the statement.
“So would Mario Woods and Oscar Grant and Alex Neito and Sahleem Tindle and Willie McCoy and far too many others, mostly young men of color,” Land added, referring other some of the people who have been shot and killed by police in recent years.
Clark, who was black, was killed last year after Sacramento officers responded to a report that a man had broken car windows and was hiding in a backyard. Officers ultimately chased Clark into his grandmother’s backyard, where they told him to stop.
He was about 30 feet away when officers fired, prosecutors said Saturday. He was unarmed.
What the bill does
AB 392, also known as the California Act to Save Lives, is California Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s latest effort to curb deadly shootings involving the police.
Weber began addressing the issue before Clark’s death, she told CNN last year, and she’s written similar bills in past state legislative sessions, but they didn’t pass the legislature to become law.
Current law in California says deadly force by an officer is justifiable if a suspect has committed a felony and is fleeing or resisting arrest, according to a legislative digest of AB 392, and that such action is reasonable.