Federal Officials Close Civil Rights Investigation into the Fatal Shooting of Stephon Clark
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Special Agent-in-Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Division today announced that the independent federal review into the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark on March 18, 2018, found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal civil rights charges against the Sacramento Police Department officers involved. Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI met today with Clark’s family to inform them of this decision.
After a careful and thorough review into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators and prosecutors determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of the federal statute. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and career prosecutors in the Civil Rights Division conducted a comprehensive, independent review of the events surrounding the shooting that resulted in Clark’s death. Federal authorities also reviewed all of the evidence generated by the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Justice in earlier investigations, including witness statements, audio and video recordings, dispatch records, police reports, and autopsy reports, and gathered additional evidence pertinent to the federal investigation.
The federal investigation sought to determine whether the evidence of the events that led to Clark’s death was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any officer’s actions violated federal criminal civil rights statutes. Under the applicable federal law, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer’s use of force was objectively unreasonable in light of the facts and circumstances at the time and that the officer acted willfully, with the purpose of using objectively unreasonable force.
The Department of Justice is committed to investigating allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers and will continue to devote the resources required to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated. The Department aggressively prosecutes criminal civil rights violations whenever there is sufficient evidence to do so.