[su_label type=”info”]Editorial [/su_label]
Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet may have been responsible for killing Stephon Clark but (to borrow a phrase from a colleague), it the was the ghost of Clark who was put on trial.
And on March 2, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert ultimately justified the actions of the two Sacramento police officers who killed Clark—an unarmed 22-year-old black man and father of two.
Schubert refused to file charges against officers Mercadal and Robinet, citing unrelated details from Clarke’s personal life, that were stolen from his phone during the police “investigation” into his death.
For over an hour, Schubert used every bit of her 28 years worth of law enforcement experience —law enforcement, it should be mentioned, generously supported Schubert’s campaign for DA to the tune of $470,000—and carefully worded language to excuse the eight shots that struck Clark’s unarmed body.
But Schubert wasn’t content to exonerate the officers who killed Clarke, she also felt it necessary to methodically assassinate the character of a man who by virtue of being dead, was incapable of defending himself. She shared with the public Clarke’s personal information— sensitive, private and ultimately irrelevant details to which investigators really had no right.
That information should be considered illegal (as if taking someone’s life isn’t enough, police think they’re entitled to take your property as well). The truth is that investigators were looking for something—anything—to justify the officers’ inexcusable actions, and Schubert dutifully obliged them.
She used that ill-gotten information to paint a picture of a man who, days before his murder (yes, we know that’s a legal term, but his death was clearly unlawful), had family troubles and had contemplated suicide.
“You can see that there were many things weighing heavily on his mind,” Schubert concluded after delivering these utterly irrelevant details from Stephon’s personal life.
Things are weighing heavily on our minds too, starting with: Who will raise Stephon’s sons? Why did the murdering officers mute their body cameras moments after the shooting? (Schubert deliberately refused to answer that question)
If we’ve learned anything from this tragedy in last year it’s that Schubert was never interested in delivering justice for Stephon or his family. Neither was Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General, who has sued the Trump administration 47 times but is too much of a coward to hold the police accountable in his own state. You know, you’d think by now the message had been received, but clearly it bears repeating: Black. Lives. Matter.