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Stephon Clark's mother speaks out after protests: 'Do what you got to do'

SeQuette Clark said she can understand the anger after the officers who fatally shot her son last year were not criminally charged this week.

While California's attorney general announced Tuesday that he won't file criminal charges against two Sacramento police officers in the death of unarmed black man Stephon Clark, his mother said she can understand why people's anger and frustrations are spilling into the streets.

"If that helps those that are protesting, then I'm all for it," SeQuette Clark told NBC News in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday. "It's just a big reminder of where we are and who we are, and that being said, do what you got to do."

IMAGE: Stephon Clark
Stephon ClarkCourtesy Sonia Lewis

Attorney General Xavier Becerra's decision came after a yearlong investigation into the shooting of Clark, who was killed on the night of March 18, 2018, when police said the 22-year-old father of two had broken car windows and a neighbor's sliding glass door and then refused to listen to officers' commands.

On Saturday, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office also said it would not criminally charge the two officers, Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet, in Clark's death.

The announcement sparked a night of unrest in Sacramento on Monday with about 80 arrests, including of clergy members and a journalist, and then a raucous City Council meeting on Tuesday in which the audience shouted down Mayor Darrell Steinberg and someone jumped on the lectern.

Steinberg had called for an investigation of police tactics that were used during the previous night's protest after complaints from activists who were surrounded on a freeway overpass. The city is bracing for potentially more demonstrations this week.

"I want to guarantee the right of peaceful protest and freedom of the press while simultaneously protecting public safety," Steinberg said in a statement.

SeQuette Clark has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the officers for more than $20 million, alleging her son was the victim of excessive force and racial profiling. While the officers believed Stephon Clark was armed, only a cellphone was found at the scene.

A private autopsy concluded that he was shot eight times, with nearly all of the bullets striking him from behind.

"It's so hard to be reminded that I'm a black citizen in America, and that means absolutely nothing," SeQuette Clark said, adding, "I believed for a moment that we would have justice."