#StephonClark Independent Autopsy Released [VIDEOS]
#StephonClark Independent Autopsy Released [VIDEOS]
The city of Sacramento California has been in the news a lot over the past few days due to the police shooting of a young unarmed black man named Stephon Clark. Friday, the results of an independent autopsy paid for by his family were released and the findings are extremely troubling. The autopsy found that he had been hit eight times and most of those shots were in the back. I have a unique perspective on this shooting as I lived in Sacramento for a number of years and have familiarity with the neighborhoods and the police there.
This shooting took place in Meadowview, which is a lower income neighborhood plagued by gang violence. This has been the case for at least the past 20 years so I can understand police being skittish while pursuing a suspect in that neck of the woods. However, what I cannot understand is what happened in the video below. Please note that this video contains footage of the shooting of Stephon Clark taken by the police helicopter and is graphic.
Dr. Bennet Omalu performed the autopsy for the family, the video of his press conference outlining the injuries Clark suffered is below. The key finding for me in this press conference is that the trajectory of seven of these wounds in his back was forward. That indicates that Clark had his back to the police when he was shot. In other words, the officers who shot Clark could not have been in fear for their lives when they shot him. In fact, as you can see in the video the police did not even have a clean line of sight on Clark when they began shooting. Clark did not even have a chance to comply with the officers directive to show them his hands. They continued to shoot even after they saw him go down and it gets worse from there.
Clark lay motionless for a full five minutes as the police asked him if he was ok and asked him to show his hands in exchange for medical help. Judging by what the autopsy found Clark was likely either close to death or dead by the time the police moved his body-only to find a phone and no gun. He had perforated lungs and multiple spinal cord injuries due to the placement of the officer’s shots and was therefore unable to respond to the police commands after he was shot. Once the police determined that there was no gun at the scene, the responding officers turned off the sound on their bodycams. If that does not bother you-it should. An unarmed citizen is shot seven times in the back in his relatives’ backyard by police who failed to identify themselves as officers of the law and then opened fire with no clear line of sight who then turn off the recording equipment meant to protect both the citizens and the police-Houston we have a very serious problem.
Now I ask you to concentrate on the videos above and the behavior of the police as well as that of Mr. Clark. Pay the media whoring idiots who always come sniffing around families like Clark’s after a tragedy like this no mind. I am not going to mention their names because we all know them. Pay attention to what happened here and remember that it could well have happened to any one of us in this country. If you don’t think so, ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly-could you have responded to the shouted commands in the time it took for the police to start shooting? If it were it your son or daughter laying unresponsive after being shot seven times in the back would you be livid with the authorities for withholding medical treatment for five long minutes? How do we as a society work together to ensure that our law enforcement officers are once again our communities protectors and not rogue elements running unchecked? Now, before you get irked with me on that last question let me tell you a few stories about my experiences as a law-abiding citizen at the hands of law enforcement around Sacramento. I was 20 when I was pulled over by two California Highway Patrol Officers on a main street for chirping my tires when I came to a stoplight by depressing the brake pedal a little too hard. It was a summer night and I was not wearing enough clothing to hide a weapon of any sort in. The officers pulled me over, and while one held his service weapon on me his partner gave me a sobriety test. I weighed about 120 lbs when this happened. Between the two officers, they likely weighed about 500 lbs. I also had an experience with a Sacramento City Police Officer who illegally ran my drivers license after I moved away to escape a mentally unstable ex-boyfriend. Why? Because the ex-boyfriend was his buddy. Not all police departments have a problem with corruption, but in my humble opinion, the law enforcement around the city of Sacramento has had serious issues for a very long time. Perhaps Stephon Clark’s case can help the force clean up their act. I sincerely hope that they take that opportunity.
The police have the respect that they have earned. That they continue to cover for the bad and abusive members amongst their ranks, and all too often engage in physical violence, intimidation and escallate to lethal force in a snap has made ordinary, law abiding, work-a-day joes afraid of them.
Yes, there’s race/poverty pimps out criticizing the police without merit. That BLM’s outright racism has largely torpedoed rational calls for police reform shouldn’t be a deterrent, nor should it lead anyone to conclude that the police have been blameless.
The “Reasonably Scared Cop” ruling needs to be overturned, and “Qualified Immunity” for officers and other government officials needs to be re-visited as well.
I could not agree with your statements more. I too find BLM’s calls for murder absolutely disgusting. What bothers me so much about this case was the quickness of their shooting. He literally had no time to comply. My son has issues with impulsivity and processes verbal directions slowly and the police where I live tend to shoot first and ask questions later. It scares the hell out of me to think he might meet cops like these one day-even though he is white. That is the other issue that is getting to me. I am coming to grips with the fact that there is systemic racism in many of our police forces. We need to deal with that as a society, or we will continue to see young men like this one gunned down.
there is systemic racism in many of our police forces
Check the meaning of that word, “systemic”. It would include either an official (though, admittedly not likely a published one) policy or vast numbers of the force being racist.
That’s a high hurdle.
While agree that it is troubling that the didn’t check him / get medical sooner, I’m gonna have to disagree with most of the rest of our post. First, the fact that the shots were in the back is irrelevant, though those on the side of criminals love to use that as some sort of GOTCHA in almost all of these cases. A number of reliable studies have shown that most times a person has time to flinch / turn between the time the trigger is pulled, and the bullets impact, so it is VERY likely that the police could fire while he was facing them, with the bullets impacting as he twisted away. Also, the entire time of firing was less than 5 seconds, some of which he was still moving / on his knees. I’d submit that under the stress of such situations, and in such a compressed time frame, it is completely reasonable for the police to keep firing. This was after a chase, he was obviously running from them, acting suspiciously, and turned with something in his hand. This was in a gang infested area as you point out, and contrary to your post, they tell him to show his hands, then take cover behind the house, then come around the corner again, which is when they fire. This was quite a bit of time, given the circumstances. As a medic, I spent 6 years working with a SWAT team and got a much clearer understanding of how these things occur, and how they’re distorted by the Dr’s / lawyers that represent these criminals… But as always, thanks for the thought / discussion provoking post.
Thanks for your readership as well as your well thought out and delivered response. I can see how what you describe could happen but that said, I also am automatically suspicious of cops that shut off their audio/video. That is there to protect BOTH parties. We shall see how this shakes out, but I am deeply disturbed by the shoot first ask questions approach of many LEOs today.
Jen, no argument at all about turning of the cameras, that is a bad thing, and certainly doesn’t instill faith in the process. And yeah, the shot first mentality is not good… It is somewhat understandable, in light of all the the attacks on police, but still troubling..
In other words, the officers who shot Clark could not have been in fear for their lives when they shot him.
No, that’s not the case at all.
2) Time between trigger pull and impact
3) Tendency to continue pulling the trigger (reaction time to end of threat)
4) Tendency to continue pulling the trigger (adreniline)
4) Multiple shooters
Mind you, this is one of the most common claims for bad faith in shootings. Right after “unarmed”. But it’s not as solid a point as it seems.
could you have responded to the shouted commands in the time it took for the police to start shooting?
Well, let’s move it back a step: would you have not run from uniformed police into the dark?
Mind you, these *are* California cops.
I’m all about holding our police accountable, but we have to be careful we don’t contribute to the bogus narrative the racialists and communists are peddling.
Were I in Sacto, yeah likely I would not feel comfortable with them, hoping you read the last part of my story. I have experience with this PD and they are corrupt to their core. I just cannot see how this is a good shoot at all. Sorry GWB, we have to agree to disagree here.