March 18, 2018. Sacramento, California. Two police officers, Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, respond to a 9-1-1 call about an individual breaking car windows. They track the suspect down. They see the suspect is holding a gun. Or a tool bar. They fire twenty rounds.
Seven bullets enter Stephon Clark’s body from the back. One hits his chest.
Clark, a 22 year-old black man in his grandmother’s backyard, falls to his death.
Turns out what he was holding was not a gun or a tool bar, but a cell phone.
Almost a year goes by. On March 2, 2019, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announces that no criminal charges would be filed against Mercadal and Robinet. The officers had not broken the law.
Schubert proceeds by pointing out that Clark had recently been accused of assaulting the mother of his children. He had exchanged threatening text messages with his fiancé. He had looked online for information on penalties for domestic violence. He had searched the internet about suicide methods. He had drugs in his system the night of the shooting.
In other words, even if charges were pressed, it would be Clark on trial and not the officers.
It happened with Trayvon Martin. A 17 year-old black boy, walking back from 7-Eleven during halftime of the NBA All Star Game. A bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea in his pocket. A cell phone in hand. He was shot and killed by George Zimmerman who thought Martin…