An independent autopsy contradicts initial police reports on the death of Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old unarmed Black man killed in his backyard in Sacramento weeks ago.
The autopsy shows Clark was shot six times in the back and twice in his side. According to BuzzFeed News, Sacramento Police Department previously reported that Clark charged at officers, provoking them to shoot. The autopsy, commissioned by Clark’s family, also revealed that it took three to 10 minutes for Clark to succumb to his wounds after being shot at 20 times by police.
In a news conference, the family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said the report proves that Clark was not charging at the officers. “From the time this investigation began, statements provided by the Sacramento Police Department have proven to be self-serving, untrustworthy, and unreliable,” he said, according to BuzzFeed. “This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is known for his work with chronic brain damage in NFL players. Omalu revealed that Clark was shot four times in the lower back, twice in his neck, under an armpit, and once in the leg. An imageof the autopsy can be found here.
Clark died in the backyard of his grandparents’ house, where he was living at the time. Police shot and killed Clark while investigating reports of burglary in the area. At the time of the shooting, police claimed they thought Clark was armed, but he was actually carrying a cell phone. SPD is waiting for an official autopsy from the county coroner’s office before commenting further on the incident.
Clark’s death sparked protests in Sacramento led by Black Lives Matter activists. Protests continued over the three day weekend, following the release of the autopsy. On Saturday night, a sheriff hit a woman attending a vigil for Clark with his car. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has issued a statement asking for nonviolent action “as we pursue justice and demand reform.”