An independent autopsy shows that Stephon Clark was shot by Sacramento police eight times, and six of those wounds were in his back, said Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist retained by attorneys for Clark’s family to conduct a separate autopsy.
Police had previously said officers fired 20 shots at Clark on the evening of March 18, when police responded to a 911 call about a man who was breaking car windows.
The results of an independent autopsy conducted on Stephon Clark, an unarmed African-American man shot dead by Sacramento police, will be announced Friday.
The family of the 22-year-old has disputed the police account of his death while protesters have marched for several days at City Hall and NBA games demanding justice.
The autopsy was performed by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and co-founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, who is credited with discovering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional football players.
“No family should have to endure this pain and suffering as they try to seek answers,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump who is representing Clark’s family.
Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.
The fatal shooting took place on March 18 after Sacramento officers responded to a 911 call about a man who broke car windows and was hiding behind a home.
Police said they pursued a man — later identified as Clark — who hopped a fence into his grandmother’s property.
The officers said they shot Clark because they believed he was pointing a gun at them, but investigators only found a cell phone near his body, according to police.
Earlier this week, the Sacramento County Coroner determined the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds. The manner of death was homicide, according to a preliminary autopsy report.
The exact number of gunshots suffered by Clark is not being released at this time, a spokesperson for the coroner’s office said.
The coroner’s full autopsy report will be withheld until the case is adjudicated in court.
Attorneys will discuss the results of the independent autopsy just a day after Clark’s funeral.
‘This is not a local matter’
On Thursday, Rev. Al Sharpton vowed to press for justice as he delivered the eulogy for Clark at Bayside of South Sacramento Church.
“We will never let you forget the name of Stephon Clark until we get justice,” Sharpton told mourners.
The sanctuary overflowed with so many people that some sat outside as the funeral took place.
Sharpton spoke while being hugged by Clark’s brother Stevante, who had just interrupted the service with an emotional plea to never forget his brother.
In the eulogy, Sharpton disagreed with White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who called Clark’s shooting a “local matter” that should be left up to local authorities.
“No, this is not a local matter — they’ve been killing young black men all over the country,” he said.
Sharpton also pointed out that protests over Clark’s death have been peaceful.
“They’re not being violent. They’re asking for you to stop being violent to them,” Sharpton said. “They’re not trying to hurt anybody. They’re trying to express their pain.”
Police released footage of Clark’s shooting 72 hours after it happened as authorities are still gathering facts and conducting a thorough investigation.
In the footage, someone can be heard telling officers to mute their body cameras. The comment comes about seven minutes after Clark was shot multiple times — and it has not sat well with the community.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told CNN he doesn’t know why the cameras were muted. Officers are allowed to do so in specific situations, like when they’re talking to a confidential informant, he said.
“The bigger question, even beyond this specific case, is if we should allow people to mute their mics at all or under those circumstances,” he said Tuesday. “We were already looking at that before this incident happened, but I think this incident is a perfect example of why that is problematic.”
“Any time there is muting on this camera, it builds suspicion — as it has in this case.”
Hahn announced this week that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will hold an independent investigation into the incident.