A family-ordered autopsy of Stephon Clark, the unarmed California man shot in his grandmother’s backyard by police who say they thought he was holding a weapon, revealed that Clark was shot eight times from behind or on his side.
Clark, an African-American man who was at the time carrying only an iPhone was shot twice in the neck, four times in the lower back, once in the leg and one time in the armpit, according to the report obtained by The New York Times. None of the shots entered from the front.
“These findings from the independent autopsy contradict the police narrative that we’ve been told,” Clark family lawyer Benjamin Crump said in a statement.
“This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances,” he said.
Clark’s death has sparked protests around the Sacramento area as hundreds of activists blocked traffic and crowded the streets on Thursday holding signs reading “Justice for Stephon.” They were joined by civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, who also spoke at Clark’s funeral.
Crump says the autopsy defies a police narrative that Clark was menacing officers, who were heard yelling “gun!” repeatedly on body camera footage.
“Our autopsy has shown that he was shot repeatedly in the back — which is certainly not characteristic of someone menacing officers or preparing an imminent attack,” Crump told the Times.
Officers involved in the shooting were responding to a call about a man breaking into parked cars with a crowbar. Residents have argued the police response was disproportionate to the alleged crime.
Hundreds of demonstrators, led by Clark’s brother, stormed a city council meeting on Tuesday night, temporarily shutting down the meeting about the shooting.
“The mayor and the city of Sacramento has failed all of you,” Stevante Clark told the crowd at the meeting.
The California attorney general’s office announced on Tuesday that it would be assisting local law enforcement with the investigation into the shooting.