The names of the two officers who allegedly shot Stephon Clark in a Sacramento backyard on Sunday were released Friday by a prominent civil rights attorney out of Oakland, California.
The Sacramento Police Department declined to confirm the names, according to the Bee. Department spokeswoman Officer Linda Matthew said the officers involved in the shooting have received “numerous” threats.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mercadal is a Patrol Officer from the Meadowview Neighborhood where Clark was Shot
Mercadal had been identified to The Bee as an African American man who had attended Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove and was known as a patrol officer in the Meadowview neighborhood where Clark was killed.
According to the Bee, an online search confirmed a Terrance Mercadal graduated from Laguna Creek in 2003, and previously served in the Olive Branch Police Department in Olive Branch, Missouri, about 25 miles from Memphis. He ran a personal training company as well before moving to California following a divorce in 2014.
Mercadal also worked as a limited-term community service officer in Sacramento in 2015 after a short stint as a police officer trainee that year in Oakland, according to Transparent California, the Bee reports.
According to the Bee, Robinet joined the Sacramento Police Department in 2014. He made $125,144, including overtime pay and benefits, in 2016, according to Transparent California’s public employment salary database. Mercadal, who was hired in 2016, made $73,261 that year, reports the Bee.
2. Ben Crump, Former Attorney for Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Will Represent Clark’s Family
According to the Bee, Stevante Clark, Stephon Clark’s older brother, said the family had retained the services of Ben Crump, a Florida-based attorney who also represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, both young African American men who were also fatally shot in incidents that received national attention in recent years.
“No family should have to endure this pain and suffering as they try to seek answers for an execution of their loved one who was only holding a cell phone,” said Crump. “The Clark family isn’t the only family that has had to endure this suffering.”
Crump confirmed in a press release that he was taking the case.
“The shooting death of Stephon Clark is an all-too-common tragedy,” Crump said in a statement. “It is yet another troubling example of a young, unarmed black man being shot by police under highly questionable circumstances. From what we have seen so far, Sacramento law enforcement’s actions – both before and after the shooting – have raised more questions than provided answers. All of us who are committed to social justice are demanding full transparency and answers as to how these tragic events unfolded.”
3. The Officers Have Allegedly Received Death Threats Since Shooting
John Burris, a prominent civil rights attorney based in Oakland, California, identified the officers as Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal on Friday, March 23. They have been assigned to desk duty, according to reports.
“He represented the family of Joseph Mann, a black man with mental illness and addiction issues who was shot by Sacramento police in 2016 while carrying a pocket knife,” North Star reports. “Burris ultimately settled that case with the city of Sacramento for $719,000, but the incident sparked significant police reforms in the city, including a video release policy that mandates the release of police video in critical incidents within 30 days of the encounter.”
According to the Bee, the Sacramento Police Department declined to confirm the names. Department spokeswoman Officer Linda Matthew said the officers involved in the shooting have received “numerous” threats.
“Based on the threats we do know about, it would be careless of us at this point to release the names,” Matthew said.
4. The Shooting Ignited Protests and Re-Energized the Black Lives Matter Movement in California
The fatal shooting sparked protests around the state of California and re-energized the Black Lives Matter movement in the capital. Hundreds of protesters briefly shut down a freeway Thursday and blocked all but a few hundred fans from entering the downtown Golden 1 Center arena for a Sacramento Kings game, the Bee reports.
Activists said they plan more protests Tuesday, outside the offices of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, according to the Bee.
According to North Star, Vivek Ranadive, the Kings’ majority owner spoke to the crowd from center court after the game, calling for unity during the emotional case.
5. Body Cam Footage from Shooting Shows Mercadal and Robinet Shot at Clark 20 Times
According to reports, police received a call that a six-foot-one man wearing a black hoodie and dark pants was breaking into vehicles, breaking car windows and was hiding in a backyard, according to the Sacramento Police Department.
According to the LA Times, “a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s helicopter circling overhead found a man in a backyard at about 9:25 p.m. and directed police officers toward him,” authorities said. “Deputies told police that the man had picked up a “toolbar” and broke a window to a home.”
According to the body cam footage released by the Sacramento Police Department, officers gave Clark commands to stop and show his hands, but he immediately fled. They chased him to the backyard, where authorities say he turned and advanced toward the officers “while holding an object which was extended in front of him.”
“The officers believed the suspect was pointing a firearm at them. Fearing for their safety, the officers fired their duty weapons striking the suspect multiple times,” the police department said in a news release. “The involved officers held their position for approximately five minutes, until additional officers arrived. Officers approached the suspect, handcuffed him and began life saving efforts.”
After the shooting, the police officers reloaded their guns and waited five minutes for other cops to arrive before administering CPR. The cops also switched off their microphones and body cameras.