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Four Years Since Stephon Clark's Death, Change Is Still To Come

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Four years after Stephon Clark was shot and killed by Sacramento police, calls for justice continue.

Activists gathered at the State Capitol Friday to remember him and others who died at the hands of police.

"That's another reason why I put on this march: to put elected officials on blast and say, 'Our loved ones are gone, what are you going to do aboutit?' " explained Stevante Clark, Stephon's brother.

Clark was shot in his grandmother's backyard after officers mistook his cellphone for a gun.

"When I think about March 18, I think about how my brother has not gotten any justice or accountability," he explained.

Instead, Stevante said his family has seen change in their efforts establishing Stephon's House, a community resource center, and multiple foundations in his brother's honor. The family is also looking to open the Stephon Clark Preparatory Middle School in the fall.

"I think we have done really well when it comes to legacy, but when it comes to preventing 'Stephons' from ever happening again, much, much work needs to be done," he explained.

The anniversary is still a painful reality for Clark's grandmother.

"He was a good kid, he had a good heart," explained Sequita Thompson.

Years later, the family still wants to see more from law enforcement.

"Progress and justice. Justice, that is what we need. There [are] a lot of families that need justice," said Thompson.

Since the shooting, officers must follow "Stephon's Law" by only using deadly force when necessary instead of when reasonable. Fatal officer-involved shootings of unarmed people now require an attorney general investigation and the state has banned certain chokeholds by law enforcement.

"Slow progress is better than no progress," explained Stevante.

CBS13 spoke to Sacramento's new Chief of Police Kathy Lester earlier this week for Women's History Month.

"There is a very complicated relationship between law enforcement and especially communities of color," she said.

Sacramento police were unavailable to comment on the anniversary of Clark's death but explain they have increased partnerships with community groups, increased focus on de-escalation and racial profiling training and established early intervention to identify issues with officers among other practices.

"I also know that reform and serving your community are not mutually exclusive so really that evolution for me at this point, how do we move forward, what do we change," said Lester.

Four years later, Stevante explains the work is just beginning

"We have to start with the actionable items after the protest, after the discussions. What are we doing after the press conferences?" he explained. "I believe that Stephon's death will change how policing in America continues."

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