Stephon Clark

Stephon Clark with his sister, Cailyn, who was the last one to see him alive
Stephon Clark with his sister, Cailyn, who was the last one to see him alive
Courtesy Sequette Clark, with permission

Stephon Alonzo Clark was a 22-year-old man who was shot and killed in the backyard of his grandmother’s house in Sacramento, California by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department on March 18, 2018. The officers fired 20 rounds at Stephon and stated that they believed he had pointed a gun at them. However, police found only a cell phone on him. This all sounds too familiar. An independent report found that Stephon had been shot seven times, including six times in the back. A private autopsy contradicted many of the police’s claims. One heart-breaking development of the independent finding was that Stephon’s death was not instantaneous, and instead spanned three to ten minutes. Some of his family members was inside the home during the shooting. His mother agonizes over the thought that her beloved son probably thought that since he made it home, he would be “safe.”

In public statements, the police chief said that the officers responded to a call of a suspect (allegedly) matching Stephon’s description breaking car windows. Helicopter cameras led police to Stephon’s grandmother's home, where they confronted him with their guns drawn. They pursued him, demanding that he show his hands. When he did, one of the officers yelled "gun, gun, gun!" In a matter of three seconds, shots were fired and Stephon fell lifeless to the ground.

The officers fired because they claimed "They felt their lives were in danger..." Stephon was unarmed, holding a phone that was mistaken for a gun. He also did not have any tools on him that helicopter reports claimed the person breaking windows held.

One year after Stephon’s death, the Sacramento District Attorney announced that the police officers who had killed Stephon would not be charged because they had probable cause to stop him and were legally justified in the use of deadly force. The following year, two of Stephon’s young sons filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Sacramento and the officers who shot their father. The city settled the lawsuit for $2.4 million to be distributed when the children turn 22.

Stephon’s mother Sequette Clark has never stopped fighting for justice for her beloved son and his entire family, who have suffered unspeakable pain and trauma as a result of his murder. His brother Stevante started a foundation called I Am SAC, which are Stephon’s initials. His mother also created the Stephon Clark Legacy foundation to honor his legacy as a father by supplying the needs of other young fathers and their families. There is a gallery of photos of Stephon on her website that have never been released to the public at

On August 19, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Stephon Clark Law (Assembly Bill 392) which requires that police officers use deadly force only when “necessary” as opposed to the previous law, which allowed the use of deadly force whenever officers thought it “reasonable.” Sacramento now has one of the strictest Police Use of Force Laws in the country.