SACRAMENTO — The two Sacramento police officers who fatally shot Stephon Clark will return to “full, active duty,” Police Chief Daniel Hahn said Thursday.
Hahn’s announcement comes as federal investigators cleared Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet of wrongdoing.
“After a careful and thorough review into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators and prosecutors determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of the federal statute. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed,” a news release from the Department of Justice said.
Robinet is the officer who was on patrol the night he shot at Clark. He’s elected to return to the streets but Chief Hahn said he will be patrolling the northern instead of the southern part of the city.
Officer Mercadal was on patrol as well when he responded to the Meadowview area the night he killed Clark, but he has decided to return to work in investigations.
The Sacramento Police Department also publicly released its findings and materials from its internal affairs investigation.
The Clark family was devastated but defiant as they spoke out publicly an hour after learning that after failing to get what they felt would be accountability at the county and state level, the officers who shot Stephon had been cleared federally as well.
“That’s packing salt into the wounds,” said Clark’s mother, SeQuette.
“The Sacramento Police Department should know the difference between a gun and a cell phone, and my brother should be alive with us today,” Stevante said.
The Clark family is promising that next week they will have a more formal response to what they learned from the FBI and the Sacramento Police Department.
Hahn said he is committed to learning from the past and taking his department forward into a future, where what happened to Stephon does not happen again thanks to tighter policies.
“I wish I could really turn the clock back and have Stephon with us today and not having gone through what we have, but we can’t do that,” Hahn said.
Officers are in the process of implementing the first produced 66 recommendations for the Sacramento Police Department.
HAPPENING NOW: Stevante Clark reacting to the news that the @FBI has said there is insufficient evidence of civil rights violations in the @SacPolice killing of his brother Stephon. @FOX40 pic.twitter.com/4m02v2GkKS
— Sonseeahray Tonsall (@tonsalltv) September 26, 2019
The March 18, 2018, death of Clark led to massive protests through the streets of Sacramento, policy changes within the Sacramento Police Department and served as a catalyst for statewide policing reform legislation.
Community group Sacramento for Black Lives issued a statement following Thursday’s announcement. It reads in part:
Since March 18, 2018 we have not wavered in seeking JUSTICE for Stephon. It continues to be our recommendation that the officers be FIRED, CHARGED and CONVICTED, as that is what JUSTICE, accountability and transparency looks like when citizens who are not cops murder and cops shouldn’t be treated any differently.
Stanford University and the Center for Policing Equity are still conducting evaluations of what happened March 18, 2018. The State Department of Justice is also in the second phase of its investigation of the killing.