The $35 million claim filed against the city of Sacramento by Stephon Clark’s family includes damages sought for his wrongful death, funeral and medical expenses and punitive damages, according to documents the city released Friday morning.
“The City of Sacramento Police Department’s involved officers unjustly shot and killed Stephon Clark and used excessive and unreasonable force against Stephon Clark while he was in the backyard of his family home,” according to the claim forms, which were released to The Sacramento Bee in response to a state Public Records Act request.
“Stephon Clark never verbally threatened anyone and he was unarmed when he was fatally shot multiple times, including numerous shots to his back, shots while he was going to the ground and shots after he had already went down to the ground. At the time of the shooting, Stephon Clark posed no imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to either the involved officers or any other person.”
The claim, filed by attorneys for Clark’s family, seeks two payments: one “in excess of” $20 million for his two infant children, the other for more than $15 million for Clark’s parents and grandparents.
The claim, filed on Tuesday, less than two weeks before the six-month deadline to seek payment over the March 18 shooting, lists nine causes of action: wrongful death, survival damages, general damages, funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, property expenses, punitive damages, attorney fees and loss of financial support.
Clark, a 22-year-old black man, was shot to death by two police officers in the backyard of his grandparents’ Meadowview home on a Sunday night at about 10:30 p.m. Investigators say the officers believed Clark had a gun, but later determined he was carrying only a cellphone.
His death has sparked national outrage and sustained demonstrations in Sacramento that continue as activists seek criminal charges against the two officers. Police have yet to turn over their investigation to the district attorney’s office for review. A separate review will be conducted by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
The officers have not been named by the department and their identities were redacted by city officials from the claim forms, but an attorney in the office of civil rights lawyer John Burris previously told The Bee that Officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet fired the shots.
“The police shooting of Stephon Clark is the subject of an ongoing and extensive investigation by the Sacramento Police Department,” the city said in a statement.
The claims are a precursor to the expected filing of a federal civil rights wrongful death lawsuit, and the amount sought is not an indication that the city will agree to pay to settle the case. Such claims and lawsuits typically are settled through negotiation or trial.