Attorney General Becerra Releases Report on Independent Investigation into the Death of Stephon Clark, Finds No Criminal Charges Can Be Sustained
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the results of an independent investigation into the shooting death of Stephon Alonzo Clark, finding after thorough consideration of all relevant evidence that no criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting can be sustained. The investigation began at the request of Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hahn on March 26, 2018.
“This loss of life is a tragedy, and it is the kind of tragedy we have endured far too many times across our state and nation,” said Attorney General Becerra. “After extensively reviewing the record, we found that the evidence did not support filing criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting. We approached our independent investigation with an open mind, and our decision-making was driven by one factor alone: the evidence. The death of Stephon Alonzo Clark weighs heavily on our community and on our hearts—and it is why we must continue our work with law enforcement agencies in the state to build on best practices and strengthen trust between peace officers and the communities they are sworn to protect.”
It is important to note that the scope of this investigation was confined solely to an examination of whether the facts of this case were sufficient to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, the commission of a criminal offense. The criminal investigation and this report do not evaluate or address any issues relating to potential civil liability, or law enforcement policies or procedures.
The California Department of Justice conducted an extensive investigation into the evidence and facts surrounding the case, as well as a review of information made available by other law enforcement agencies. In addition to independent oversight and review by the California Department of Justice, this matter has also been investigated by both the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office. The California Department of Justice reviewed all reports and digital evidence related to the shooting, including reports from the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento County Coroner, the Sacramento District Attorney Crime Lab, and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, which provided an independent review of the autopsy.
As part of the California Department of Justice’s ongoing work, Attorney General Becerra released the first of two reports on the Sacramento Police Department’s use of force-related policies, training, and practices to help identify possible ways to achieve safer outcomes for community members and officers alike. Additionally, last year, the California Department of Justice signed a memorandum of understanding with the San Francisco Police Department to evaluate and report on the Police Department’s ongoing reform efforts. In January 2019, the California Department of Justice also entered into an agreement with the Stockton Unified School District and its police department to address system-wide violations of civil and constitutional rights of African-American and Latino students and students with disabilities.
The complete report on the shooting death of Stephon Clark is available here.