According to the district attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, the officers were justified in using lethal force and did not commit a crime.
“When we look at all of these facts and circumstances, we ask ourselves, was a crime committed? The answer to that question is no,” reported The Guardian.
Two officers - responding to a report of a man breaking car windows, shot 22 year-old Clark eight times, in his grandmother’s backyard on 18 March 2018, mistaking a cellphone in his hand for a gun.
Schubert has investigated more than 30 police shootings since January 2015 and has never filed charges against them, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
Clark’s killing is expected to lead to nationwide protests and once again, raises the issue of unnecessary police force against black people in the U.S.
“Transparency without accountability means nothing,” said Clark’s brother Stevante Clark, who in the weeks following his brother’s shooting was thrust into the national spotlight, in response to the district attorney’s decision.
The Guardian reports that in 2018, "California legislators used a swell of political will from protests over the Sacramento shooting to pass a bill that opened officer misconduct records to the public. Another bill, which would have made a stricter definition for what is considered justifiable use of deadly force by police, did not pass. A new version, Assembly Bill 392, has been introduced this year."
In her press conference, Schubert spent nearly an hour chronicling video footage and images from the night Clark was gunned down. She also shared personal text messages, phone logs, internet searches and email drafts from Clark’s cellphone to show, she said, "Clark’s state of mind in the days leading up to his death."
Dr Flojaune Cofer, senior director of policy at Public Health Advocates, a sponsor of the use of force bill, questioned why the district attorney shared such personal information from Clark and not the officers who killed him.
“I listened to an explanation for why this person deserved to die,” Cofer said. “And what was most troubling about that is that I didn’t hear similar investigation into the officers’ behavior, even though they were the ones who should have been under investigation for criminal negligence.”
“I am deeply sorry for all of the pain that will always be with you,” Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg said, speaking to Clark’s family at a press conference following the district attorney’s announcement. “The outcome was wrong. He should not have died.”
Despite the verdict, Sacramento police chief Daniel Hahn has admitted that his department will conduct its own investigation. There is even speculation that Hahn could recommend to the city manager that the two officers be fired.
Following on from the press conference, Black Lives Matter activists convened at a police station on Freeport Avenue in protest.