Clark Family Attorney Responds to Durham Police Report on Fatal Shooting | News

Clark Family Attorney Responds to Durham Police Report on Fatal Shooting


The attorney representing the family of a man who was shot to death by Durham police in the McDougald Terrace housing community in November wants to be sure the officers involved do not return to patrol the neighborhood where Frank Clark died despite the Durham Police Department’s Friday announcement that the three officers “violated no administrative policy or procedure” during the incident.

Dave Hall, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, released a statement as the Clark family mulls what steps, if any, they’ll take next.

"As we continue to review all of the evidence in this case and determine the next steps for the Clark family, it’s clear that the City of Durham and Durham Police Department need to begin to build trust between the community and police. That starts with making sure that these officers are not back in McDougald Terrace or any other directly impacted community,” the statement reads. “Further, the City of Durham should listen to the calls from community partners regarding accountability and develop an actionable plan that will reduce the dangers and trauma our communities are subjected to be over-policing.” 
Dave Hall, a lawyer for the Clark family, conducts a press conference on November 30. - PHOTO BY ALEX BOERNER
  • Photo by Alex Boerner
  • Dave Hall, a lawyer for the Clark family, conducts a press conference on November 30.

The report issued by the DPD explained the department’s decision to vindicate Master Officer Charles Barkley (who fired the fatal shots), Officer Christopher Goss, and Officer Monte Southerland but also raised questions about what unfolded the morning of November 22. Indeed, the narrative in the report is somewhat different than the five-day report issued late last year by the DPD, as well as District Attorney Roger Echols’s justification for not prosecuting the officers.

The five-day report included few details, and none of the officers involved in Clark’s death contributed to the narrative provided in it. But from Echols, who released his decision after a review of the State Bureau of Investigation’s file, we learned that after an alleged struggle with the officers, Clark drew a weapon and pointed it at them—a version of events that conflicts with two dozen interviews of McDougald residents who say they witnessed the incident conducted by the INDY. (Like the SBI, the DPD’s investigators were unable to find any witnesses who were willing to speak with them. Purported witnesses who spoke with the INDY did so on the condition of anonymity, some saying they feared reprisals from the police.)

If the DPD’s latest version is accurate, Echols left out critical pieces of information: that Clark punched Barkley in the face and, with a gun drawn, struggled with Southerland with Barkley’s gun drawn on him. And the narrative seems to conflict with photographs of the crime scene viewed by the INDY that show shell casings from Barkley’s service weapon some twenty feet from where Clark fell after taking a shot that ruptured his femur and another to the back of the head.

Numerous calls to Echols for comment remain unreturned, and several attempts since November to interview the officers involved in the shooting and police chief C.J. Davis have been declined.

Here's the full report on the DPD's administrative investigation:

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