Days after shooting an unarmed man in his own backyard for holding a phone, two police unions in Northern California donated $13,000 to the Sacramento County District Attorney in campaign contributions.
The unions and the district attorney said the contributions were an "unfortunate coincidence," according to the Sacramento Bee.
But not everybody is buying that story.
“It’s not an exception to the rule – it is the rule. Their relationships with each other are incestuous,” said Cat Brooks, executive director of the Oakland-based Justice Teams Network, whose Anti Police Terror Project advocates for policing reforms and joined Sacramento protesters on Wednesday. “So the public perception is right. (DA’s offices) are beholden to law enforcement unions. You can’t engender trust when those relationships are so tightly wound.”
But the unions are saying the campaign contributions was in the works even before Sacramento police shot and killed Stephon Clark on March 18, sparking several days of protests.
However, just the fact that the police unions are making campaign contributions to their local district attorney is an obvious sign of trying to buy influence.
In fact, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association has donated $78,000 to Anne Marie Schubert since 2013. It's latest donation of $10,000 was made on March 20, two days after the shooting, according to campaign records.
The Sacramento County Alliance of Law Enforcement following also donated $3,000 to her campaign on March 23, less than a week after cops gunned down Clark in his backyard.
Schubert's campaign manager, Dave Gilliard, said the district attorney is “proud to accept donations from the law enforcement community. She works with them every day.”
Schubert was elected Sacramento County District Attorney in 2014 with the support of several unions. She is seeking reelection in November against Noah Phillips, who is running on a campaign of police reform, including ensuring public access to police body cam and dashboard videos.
Sacramento police shot and killed Clark after receiving reports that he was breaking windows out of cars in his neighborhood. Cops confronted the 22-year-old man in the backyard of his grandmother's house where he lived.
A police helicopter spotted Clark, informing officers on the ground of his location.
Police claimed Clark "advanced towards the officers" with his arm extended, holding what appeared to be a gun, making them fear for his life.
But video recorded from the helicopter shows that Clark may not have even known the cops were hiding behind the corner of the home when one cop yelled "show me your hands" before firing several times within a second.
The video shows Clark may have taken a step towards them before he was killed. Police fired more than 20 bullets at him.
After weeks of daily protests over the shooting, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced he would oversee the investigation, so we'll see if the police unions send him money as well.