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$2.4 Million Paid by Sacramento in Wrongful Death Suit of Stephon Clark

by Kevin Bliss

Two Sacramento, California, police officers, Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet, fatally shot Stephon Clark on March 18, 2018, amid accusations of racial profiling and excessive use of force.

The District Attorney (“DA”) stated that the force used was lawful and that no charges would be filed against the men. Now, the City of Sacramento agrees it’s in the city’s best interest to pay a wrongful death settlement of $2.4 million.

On the night of the incident, police received a call that a suspect was breaking into cars in a neighborhood and dispatched several officers and a helicopter to the area. Recordings of the helicopter state that the suspect was “running for the front yard.”

Mercadal and Robinet confronted a man in a back yard with their weapons drawn. One officer yelled, “Gun!” The two immediately fired 20 rounds into the darkness. Helicopter video shows Clark initially going to lie on the ground. Still, the officers fired a dozen more shots into his prone form.

Clark, a 22-year-old black man, was on his way to see his grandmother. He was entering through the back because the front doorbell did not work and neither his grandmother, Sequita Thompson, nor her husband could get around very well.

Clark did not have a weapon on him. The only thing in his possession when they searched the body was his cellphone. Clark was not even the original suspect.

Early release of the camera footage sparked protests across the nation. It was stated that Clark was racially profiled. The police were attacked for excessive use of force. After an investigation by the DA’s office, the decision was made not to file charges, and Mercadal and Robinet were back to work in just a couple of weeks.

“This is a complex case that at its core involves a lawful use of force by Sacramento Police Department officers,” stated City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood.

Clark left behind two boys, ages 1 and 3. A wrongful death suit was filed on the family’s behalf in January, and in September, the city of Sacramento agreed to settle for $2.4 million. Each of the children will have $893,113 placed in a trust fund for them that they can access when they turn 22.

“In this case, the city of Sacramento has determined that this partial resolution of the lawsuits filed on behalf of Mr. Clark’s family is in the best interest of our community,” said Wood. She believes it a step toward healing a community.



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