Last March, a deadly shooting made national headlines after two Sacramento Police officers fired 20 shots at an unarmed black man named Stephon Clark. With a $20 million dollar civil rights lawsuit pending and multiple criminal probes into the officers in question, the California Department of Justice began overseeing the Sacramento Police Department’s investigation of the shooting. The California DoJ just issued a report regarding their findings during oversight of the investigation and it includes almost 50 recommendations for changes to Sacramento Police Department policy regarding use of force and the investigation and reporting that follows an incident.
Since the document has been issued, many people in the Sacramento region and beyond have realized how much discretion the officers had when it comes to use of force. The recommendations issued by the DoJ included providing specific instances when an officer can use K9 units or draw firearms on civilians. These policies have many people concerned, especially considering that police brutality
disproportionately impacts people of color.
“The amount of force used by police is completely unnecessary,” said Maxence Downs from West Campus High School. Downs believes that these recommendations must all be taken seriously by the Sacramento Police Department and they must fully acknowledge the incident and hold officers accountable rather than divert attention to Clark’s past.
“The police have to recognize that they cannot effectively do their jobs if the communities they are supposed to serve are terrified of them,” said Eden Getahun from C.K. McClatchy High School.
Sacramento residents have followed the story very closely and the response of the Sacramento PD will be very indicative of how seriously the local officers take the issue of force and how much change will be made, in order to hopefully address their own prejudices and actions in order to better serve their communities in the future.