Stephon Clark, the unarmed 22-year-old killed by Sacramento police officers earlier this month, was shot eight times, with most of the bullets hitting him in the back, according to an independent autopsy requested by his family’s attorneys.
These bullets — some of which struck Clark in the back, neck and thigh — caused extensive bleeding, said Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist. At least one pierced Clark’s lung, he said.
“His death wasn’t instantaneous,” Omalu, who is known for his role in highlighting concussive damage to football players, said at a news conference Friday.
Omalu announced his findings amid continuing public anger over Clark’s death. A day earlier, hundreds of mourners gathered to grieve for Clark at an emotional funeral that alluded to the tensions lingering in the community.
Clark, a black man and a father of two, was fatally shot on March 18 by Sacramento police officers. Police in the California capital said they were responding that night to a call about someone breaking into vehicles.
The shooting was captured on footage recorded by body cameras and a helicopter video. This footage showed Clark running to the backyard of his grandmother’s house where officers fired 20 times at him. Officials have not said how many times they believe Clark was struck.
The officers said they fired thinking Clark had a gun, but police have since said he was only holding an iPhone.
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office did not immediately respond to a message seeking details on Clark’s autopsy Friday. County records showed only the date of Clark’s death and described him as a 22-year-old black man.
Clark is one of at least 269 people fatally shot by police so far this year, according to The Washington Post’s database tracking such deaths. Since The Post began to track these shootings in January 2015, the Sacramento police have fatally shot six people. Including Clark, five of the six have been black men.
The release of the video footage capturing Clark’s death has given way to repeated protests in Sacramento. Demonstrators have blocked fans from entering NBA games, marched on the city’s streets and gathered Tuesday night at a City Council meeting to protest there.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Mark Berman