Family of Stephon Clark, unarmed black man killed by Sacramento police, files wrongful death lawsuit

Family of Stephon Clark, unarmed black man killed by Sacramento police, files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of Stephon Clark has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, Calif., alleging that police used excessive force in killing him in his grandmother's backyard while he was unarmed.

The incident last year sparked protests in California and garnered nationwide attention.


The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Clark was racially profiled and that the two officers did not identify themselves or verbally warn Clark before firing approximately 20 shots between the two of them, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The long-expected lawsuit is seeking at least $20 million in damages from the city.

“[Clark] never verbally threatened anyone prior to being fatally shot by Officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet,” the suit says.

The lawsuit comes just before District Attorney Anne Marie is expected to release a report on whether Mercadal and Robinet should face criminal charges for the incident.

The Sacramento Police Department and the local police union declined to comment to the Bee on the lawsuit.

The city has been upended by months of demonstrations and protests meant to raise awareness to police violence against unarmed people of color and calls for criminal charges against the officers, who have since returned to work.

Officers believed Clark, who was suspected of car theft when he was shot, had a gun on him and opened fire.

It was later discovered Clark had a cell phone and not a handgun.

“At the time of the shooting [Clark] posed no immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to either Officers Terrence Mercadal or Jared Robinet, or any other person, especially since he was unarmed and since he was going to the ground or already on the ground when he was shot, including multiple shots to his back,” the suit alleges.

An autopsy paid for by the family discovered Clark was shot eight times, six of them hitting him in the back.