Statement regarding settlement of litigation in Clark v. City of Sacramento

The City of Sacramento has agreed to a partial settlement of Clark v. City of Sacramento for the amount of $2.4 million.

Statement from City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood:

“This is a complex case that at its core involves a lawful use of force by Sacramento Police Department officers. This fact has been confirmed by both the Sacramento County District Attorney and the California State Attorney General.  

“In this case, the City of Sacramento has determined that this partial resolution of the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Clark’s family is in the best interest of our community. The agreement brings a key portion of the case to a conclusion, and avoids a potentially lengthy and expensive litigation process.

“Importantly, this partial resolution focuses on providing a structured settlement for the benefit of Mr. Clark’s young children, ensuring there will be resources available for their care and education. The City believes this action on behalf of Mr. Clark’s children will mark another step in the ongoing healing of our community from a tragic event that caused pain to Mr. Clark’s children and family, to the Meadowview community, and to our entire city.”

Background information:

On March 18, 2018, Sacramento Police Department officers chased Stephon Clark around a corner during a foot pursuit in Meadowview and fatally shot him after Mr. Clark advanced on officers holding a cell phone, which officers mistook for a gun.

Officers were responding to calls about a man later determined to be Mr. Clark breaking car windows. Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies in a helicopter saw and recorded footage of Clark trying to enter a neighboring home by breaking a sliding glass door.

In March 2019, extensive reviews by both the Sacramento County District Attorney and California State Attorney General found that the officers involved had acted lawfully.

Since the incident, the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Police Department have been proactive in implementing changes to increase safety for officers and residents. These changes include:

  1. Body cameras: In April 2018, the City of Sacramento implemented an emergency order requiring body-worn cameras and audio equipment to remain activated in all but narrowly defined circumstances.
  2. Foot-pursuit policy: In July 2018, SPD implemented a new foot-pursuit policy that asks officers to weigh their own safety, the safety of the public and the importance of apprehending a person before and during a foot pursuit.

The Sacramento Police Department and the City of Sacramento continue to be leaders in transparency. Because of an ordinance put into place by the City Council, SPD releases body-cam and dash-cam video quicker than what’s required by state law. Video from the Stephon Clark shooting was released within three days of the incident.

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