Two San Diego lawmakers were quick to criticize after Sacramento prosecutors announced Saturday the two police officers who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year will not face criminal charges.
The shooting death of Stephon Clark on March 18, 2018, prompted nationwide protests.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Sacramento police Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet committed no crimes when they shot Clark.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber called the district attorney’s findings “unfortunate” and “expected.”
“For far too long, the standard for the use of lethal force in California has led to unnecessary deaths like Stephon Clark’s,” Weber said in a statement. “To allow the status quo to remain will mean more unnecessary deaths and more families left without justice for the loss of their loved ones.”
In response to Clark’s shooting and the attention brought to the shooting deaths of unarmed black men by law enforcement in recent years, Weber introduced a bill, AB 392, which will limit when California police can use deadly force.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, of the 172 people killed by police in California in 2017, more than two-thirds were people of color.
“It’s clear. Something needs to change.” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said in a statement to NBC 7. Gonzalez has not officially endorsed Weber’s bill but does support the idea behind it.
Weber’s bill, introduced Feb. 6, would redefine the circumstances where an officer’s use of deadly force is deemed justifiable.
The officers have said they thought Stephon Clark, a vandalism suspect, had a gun but investigators found only a cellphone.
"We must recognize that they are often forced to make split-second decisions and we must recognize that they are under tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving circumstances," Schubert said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report