Sacramento Police have adopted a new body camera policy after Stephon Clark‘s deadly shooting has raised more questions about racism and excessive use of force among officers.
The March 18 shooting left 22-year-old unarmed Clark, a father of two, dead after 20 shots in his grandmother’s backyard. He only held a cell phone when he was fatally shot, a fact for which police must be held accountable, protesters have said. What also must be answered is why two officers muted their microphones during the horrifying shooting incident.
The two officers were told to silence their microphones about seven minutes after the shooting, CBS reported. The muted audio has increased police mistrust among community members. In response, the department, predominantly comprised of White officers, called for a new policy on Monday that makes it mandatory for officers to verbalize why they would be muting their mics during encounters.
However, the new policy does not address preventing any future fatal shooting incidents or stronger reform measures, especially as the Sacramento Police Department has to grapple with past incidents of racism.
A jaywalker, Nandi Cain Jr., was beaten by Sacramento police last April, and the incident was caught on tape. The victim filed a lawsuit against the police department and jail staff for the brutal arrest, the Sacramento Bee reported. Another victim, a mentally ill man named Joseph Mann, was killed by police, who fired 18 shots at him during a foot chase, in July 2016. A second man, Dazion Flenaugh, who was also reportedly mentally ill, was killed in April 2016.
Many of those past incidents, along with what happened to Clark who was unarmed, have been heavy on the minds of protesters. Considering those incidents, the new body camera policy will likely draw skepticism, questions and more calls for stronger reform.