Sharpton, Crump Return to Sacramento 1 Year after Stephon Clark Shooting

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SACRAMENTO -- Monday marked one year since Stephon Clark was shot and killed by two Sacramento police officers.

Rev. Al Sharpton and well-known civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump were in Sacramento Monday afternoon.

"What the DA has done is say that police have the right based on their imagination to use deadly force," Sharpton said.

Sharpton and Crump held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol in the morning alongside Clark's family. Both were critical of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert for what they say were biases and injustice.

"I've never seen a district attorney try so desperately to justify an unjustifiable police shooting," Crump said.

"That is a threat to all of the young people in this city. When you make a legal precedent that all a policeman has to do is say, 'I thought,' and he becomes the judge and the jury and the executioner," Sharpton said.

Both offered support for new legislation in California that would change police use of force policies.

They also railed against DA Schubert for releasing Clark’s text messages, suggesting he was suicidal before officers shot him.

"It’s outrageous," Sharpton said. "How do you take a victim’s cell phone and act like any of his prior texts or conversations is a cause for him dead when you’ve established he was unarmed? If you want to look at somebody’s cell phone look at the shooters, the policemen."

Following the press conference, the Clark family held a ceremony in Stephon's honor at Genesis Church near their home.

The family’s message throughout the day focused on defining Stephon's legacy beyond just the unarmed man shot in his grandmother's backyard.

"Stephon’s legacy will help bridge the gap between individuals in at-risk communities and law enforcement," said his brother, Stevante.

"Let’s march peacefully because they want us to act ugly. Let’s stand tall and proud," said his grandmother, Sequita Thompson.

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Sharpton Joins Former Mayor Kevin Johnson

Later in the day, FOX40 caught up with Rev. Sharpton as he headed into the Guild Theater to join Sacramento's former Mayor Kevin Johnson on stage.

When asked what he wanted people to take away from his visit when it comes to Clark and the state of police affairs he said, "That we are consistently and persistently going to stand with this family."

Sharpton and Johnson appeared before a crowd of at least 200 to debate the kind of legal reforms Sharpton believes might have brought justice to Clark after his death.

"I just feel bad for Stephon Clark's family," said Karen Parisi. "I feel bad for the police department. I just want some kind of unity and I think I'm hopin' the Reverend Sharpton might be able to give me a different perspective."

While much of the community discussion about police accountability has been closely covered by FOX40 and other press outlets over the last year, the press was not allowed to listen in to the Oak Park Speaker Series event that was put on by St. HOPE. For others, cameras have been welcomed.

"It's a fundraiser that we do as part of Underground Books, from a bookstore standpoint, so every seat that we have is crucial," said Jake Mossawir, the CEO of St. HOPE.

Karen Crawford came with her ticket all the way from Stockton to be a part of a discussion she feels has to have wider implications.

"Police response to the African-American community and not just specifically Stephon Clark 'cause it's much bigger than him," she said. "So I would like to hear more in what's gonna be done or what can be done."

FOX40 tried to speak to Johnson but he was not available for comment.


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