Sacramento settles with parents of Stephon Clark, unarmed man killed by police, for $1.7 million

·2 min read
A woman displays a photo of Stephon Clark during a protest in Sacramento in 2018.
The 2018 police killing of Stephon Clark, 22, sparked protests in Sacramento. Clark was holding a cellphone when officers fired 20 shots at him. (Associated Press)

The city of Sacramento will pay $1.7 million to the parents of Stephon Clark, who was shot to death by police while holding a cellphone in 2018, to settle the final portion of a lawsuit filed by Clark's family, officials said Friday.

Clark, 22, was killed March 18, 2018, when Sacramento police fired 20 shots, striking him at least seven times. Officers had chased Clark to the backyard of his grandmother's home after receiving reports of vandalism, and said that he advanced on them while holding a firearm.

Clark was holding a cellphone at the time.

Investigations by local, state and federal agencies found that the shooting was within Sacramento Police Department policies and state law.

In 2019, the city settled part of the lawsuit brought by Clark's family by providing $2.4 million to his two children, leaving his parents as the sole remaining plaintiffs, according to a later court ruling.

“The decision to resolve the case through a negotiated agreement comes after careful consideration of all options,” Sacramento City Atty. Susana Alcala Wood said in a news release Friday. “We believe this is the best path forward for all involved parties including our community.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called Clark's death "a tragedy that brought pain and sorrow to his family and to our entire city."

“Everyone wishes this heartbreaking event had not occurred. A family lost a son, a grandson, a brother and a father," Steinberg said in the statement.

The shooting garnered national attention and sparked massive demonstrations in Sacramento.

The protests helped spur the passage of Senate Bill 1421, a police transparency law that requires the release of personnel records in law enforcement shootings, and Assembly Bill 392, which raised standards for when officers can use deadly force.

The Sacramento Police Department also made changes in the wake of the shooting, including updating its body-camera and foot-pursuit policies "as well as development of a comprehensive use-of-force policy," the city said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.