The Sacramento County coroner’s report on the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man shot by two police officers in his grandmother’s yard, widely differs from a private autopsy ordered by his family.
Clark was shot seven times on March 18, with the first bullet hitting the front of his body, according to the county coroner’s autopsy released Tuesday by Sacramento police. That matches the original police account that said Clark was walking toward the officers when they started firing.
The finding contrasts with an autopsy report by Bennet Omalu, an independent pathologist hired by the Clark family, who said the young man was shot eight times — six of those in the back.
Sacramento County Coroner Kimberly Gin, in a letter to the police department, said the private autopsy was “erroneous.” The county autopsy was performed March 20.
The county autopsy found three of the seven shots struck Clark’s back, and a toxicology report said he was legally drunk and had traces of cocaine, cannabis and codeine in his system.
Omalu, the private pathologist, mistook an exit wound for a separate entrance wound, wrote forensic pathologist Gregory Reiber in his case review for the county of both autopsies and other evidence.
“This is a significant error, as it leads to incorrect conclusions regarding the relative positions of the victim and shooters during the event,” Reiber said in the report also released by the police Tuesday.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Shelby Fleig