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Stephon Clark killing becomes test in Sacramento DA election

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For activists like Bond, whose agendas typically align with Democratic policies, the Sacramento district attorney race is an ideal venue to press their agenda. Hillary Clinton won 57 percent of the county’s vote in 2016, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 100,000. They see untapped potential in the many voters in highly policed neighborhoods who haven’t cast ballots in prior elections. Criminal justice reform is already underway in the city of Sacramento, the county seat and state capital,driven by a 2016 police killing of a man armed with a pocket knife.

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“The culture shift that people in the community want to see comes down to voting,” said Gabby Trejo, executive director of Sacramento ACT, a faith-based community-organizing group that tries to improve the relationship between the public and law enforcement. But, she said, “many people don’t even know they get to elect their local DA.”

Sacramento ACT is partnering with the American Civil Liberties Union to change that through voter-education efforts, including public forums and door-to-door canvassing. The two groups do not endorse candidates, but encourage voters to support those who align with a reform agenda.

“In the case of Mr. Clark, people are ready to see a fair and just investigation and charges pressed,” Trejo said. “That’s something that has to happen.”

That sentiment stems from lingering anger over the 2016 case, in which Schubert declined to prosecute two officers who shot to death Joseph Mann, 50.

 Sacramento County prosecutor Noah Phillips makes his closing statement as Orville Fleming sits in Sacramento Superior Court on June 22, 2015 in Sacramento, California. Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee via ZUMA

Phillips said he would reopen the Mann case if elected, part of his pledge to “hold law enforcement transparent, which my opponent does not believe in.” He was less clear about the Clark case, saying he would visit Clark’s family, give the public “an opportunity to be heard,” and hold officers accountable for any “criminal wrongdoing.”

Schubert, in an interview, defended her decision on Mann, which she explained in a January 2017 public report. “The review process was completed in a fair and independent manner,” she said.

She declined to comment on the Clark case beyond calling it a “tremendous tragedy” and promising to “conduct a full, fair and independent review” when police investigators hand the case to her. She also said she welcomed a move by the state attorney general this week to oversee the investigation.

Schubert said she has worked to improve her office’s relationship with the public, through youth law enforcement academies and literacy programs. She also said she enjoys support of the county’s top Democrats and Republicans.

Critics, including Phillips, Bond and their backers, note that Schubert campaigned for a state ballot question in 2016 that sped up the capital appeals process so that people sentenced to death actually get executed. She is also a leading voice in favor of a proposed state ballot question that would roll back laws aimed at reducing the state’s prison population. The proposal includes an expanded list of violent crimes for which offenders cannot be released early from prison and lower thresholds for the amount of stolen goods counted under the crime of serial theft.

An ACLU of California website aimed at helping people find out more about their local district attorney notes that Schubert was out of step with a majority of Sacramento voters on ballot initiatives aimed at reducing prison populations.

Schubert said the characterization of her as resisting reform was false.

“This is a very measured approach, not designed to put more people in prison,” she said.

She said she has prosecuted officers for other serious offenses, including rape. And she said she supports changing state law so that people who participate in a crime that leads to someone getting killed would not face as much prison time as those who did the killing.

She called Phillips “an opportunist” who has wrongly tried to link her to President Donald Trump; Schubert said she did not vote for the president.

On Thursday, as the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter planned a third consecutive day of protests outside her office — with signs that implored her to “do your job” and “don’t be an accomplice” — Schubert said she recognized that Sacramento is going through “difficult times.”

But she said she was confident in the process, and her role in it.

“We want the community to trust whatever outcome there is,” she said.

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Remainers lose faith in EU and support Brexit after bloc's bitter vaccine threats

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Brussels’ bitter vaccine threats have convinced angry Remainers to turn their backs on the European Union and support Brexit, research has revealed.

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Biden, Congress to pay tribute to slain Capitol Police officer

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Capitol Police Officer William Evans, who was killed earlier this month when a man rammed his car into him and another officer at the Capitol, will lie in honor in the building’s Rotunda on Tuesday.

Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, will be the fourth Capitol Police officer to ever lie in honor. The arrival ceremony is set for 10:30 a.m.

At 11 a.m., President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will pay tribute to Evans at a congressional ceremony inside the Rotunda. The officer’s family, along with members of the Capitol Police and Congress, are also expected to attend.

“In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement, adding it was “the great and solemn privilege of the House of Representatives and the Senate to convey the appreciation and the sadness of the Congress and country for the heroic sacrifice of Officer Evans with a lying-in-honor ceremony in the U.S. Capitol.”

Evans, who was known as “Billy,” served with Capitol Police since 2003 and was working in the first responders Unit. He leaves behind two young children.

He was killed on April 2 when a man drove a car into him and another officer before hitting a security barricade outside the Capitol. The man, 25-year-old Noah Green, of Indiana, got out of the vehicle and lunged at the officers with a knife before being shot and killed by police, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said.

The memorial for Evans comes three months after the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, which resulted in the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. His remains were also laid in honor in the Rotunda. Another Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide in the days after the riot.



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EU army setback: Brussels' 'joint military ambitions' hit as defence budgets are slashed

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AN EU defence chief has warned that the coronavirus pandemic has weakened the bloc’s joint military ambitions.

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