Stephon Clark, the unarmed black man who was fatally shot by police in his grandmother’s backyard, was struck eight times — including six bullets in the back, according to a private autopsy commissioned by the family.
Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Clark’s family, released the independent autopsy report at a news conference Friday.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the first doctor to discover chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), conducted the autopsy. Omalu, who brought awareness to the issue of concussions and brain trauma to the NFL, was depicted film “Concussion,” in which Will Smith played him in the leading role.
“He was shot in the back six times. The seventh gunshot wound was slightly to the side of his body but to the back of the side of his body,” Omalu said during the news conference. “Each one of these bullets independently possessed a fatal capacity.”
Crump, meanwhile, said the family autopsy proved Clark wasn’t running toward police.
“The narrative that had been put forth was that they had to open fire because he was charging at them,” Crump told reporters. “Well, obviously, based on Dr. Omalu’s findings in the family’s autopsy, it suggests all the bullets were from behind.”
On March 18, officers were responding to a 911 call reporting someone breaking car windows in the 7500 block of 29th street.
Police found Clark in the backyard and believed he was armed with a gun and, “fearing for their safety,” fired at him.
Omalu said Clark — whom police shot at 20 times — did not die right away. The 22-year-old man was likely alive for 3 to 10 minutes after the shooting.
The officers, who have not been identified, waited six minutes for backup to arrive before giving him medical attention.
No gun was found at the scene. Police said the object was a cell phone.
The Sacramento Police Department released the body camera footage and helicopter footage three days after the shooting.
California’s attorney general and the police department are conducting an investigation into what happened that night, including their own autopsy report.
“The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office conducts an independent death investigation that is separate from the joint investigation being conducted by our agency and the California Department of Justice,” The Sacramento Police Department said in a statement.
They added, “Further comment by the Sacramento Police Department prior to the release of the Coroner’s report along with the official review by the Sacramento County District Attorney and the California Department of Justice would be inappropriate at this time.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark at a White House briefing on Wednesday. She described the shooting as a “terrible incident” but also said that the problem is “something we feel should be left up to local authorities.”
Sanders went on to add: “The president is very supportive of law enforcement. But at the same time, in these specific cases and these specific instances, those will be left up to local authorities to make that determination and not something for the federal government to weigh into.”
Clark was buried on Thursday after a public service, which was held at BOSS church in south Sacramento.
The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.
“This is a national fight. Stephon has woke up the nation. We all stand with Stephon Clark,” Sharpton said to the crowd. “We are going to make Donald Trump and the whole world deal with the issue of police misconduct.