City Manager Tom Bonfield said he will likely release a report Tuesday that provides the police department’s account of the fatal police shooting of a man at the McDougald Terrace public housing complex last week.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the family of the man, Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34, says the Durham City Council should pay for his funeral and hold a special session for “family, friends and neighbors to express grief and concern.” In a post on Facebook, attorney Scott Holmes also called on the council to release the history of complaints against the three officers involved.
Bonfield expected to review the department’s draft report on the Nov. 22 shooting Monday evening and said if he has questions the release may be delayed. Otherwise, he will release it to the City Council, which will make it public.
After three fatal shootings by police from 2013-2015, Bonfield created a policy to release an initial report on officer-involved shootings within five business days of the incidents.
“It is not that the investigation is complete. It is just a compiled report of everything that we know to that point,” Bonfield said. “As we learn more, it will likely be updated along the way.”
Residents of McDougald Terrace met with police Monday night. Media were barred from the meeting because, said Anthony Scott, director of the Durham Housing Authority, residents did not think they could speak freely with reporters present.
“We wanted to make sure our residents could speak without being on camera,” Scott said.
The three officers involved in the shooting, Master Officer C.S. Barkley, Officer W.D. Southerland and Officer C.Q. Goss, have been assigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of the State Bureau of Investigation’s review of the shooting, which is standard procedure whenever an officer discharges a gun.
Police Chief C.J. Davis has said the officers were canvassing the neighborhood following a 20 percent increase in violent crime, including drive-by shootings, robberies and gang activity, over the past three months.
Preliminary information indicated Clark was talking with the officers when he made a sudden movement toward his waistband, Davis said. The officers reported that Clark was shot after they heard a gunshot.
Reketa Bagley, the mother of Clark’s 18-month-old daughter, says she watched the encounter unfold in front of her home. She said Clark was at least 15 feet from the officers when they pulled their weapons and fired, she said.
On Monday, some City Council members said they would need more information about the shooting before they considered paying for Clark’s funeral.
They also said it would be up to Bonfield to release information about any past complaints against the officers. Some of the information would be public, and some would require a court order for public release.
Members Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece said they support having a special meeting.
“I think anytime something like this happens, I think it is important to give folks a place where they can speak directly to elected officials in the city and express their grief and anger,” he said.
However, Reece said a number of council members expressed concerns about the meeting, and “out of respect for their concerns, it is not to happen.”
Councilman Eddie Davis said he doesn’t think that an official council meeting would be an appropriate.
“If we say nothing, we are viewed as unconcerned,” Davis said. “If we say something then we seem like we are agreeing with the position that the folks are putting forth.”
Councilman Don Moffitt said such a meeting would have to be “carefully thought through.”
“This moment belongs to the chief of police and the department,” Moffitt said. “I want to see how it concludes.”
Staff writer Thomasi McDonald contributed to this story.