District Attorney Roger Echols said Wednesday he has received a long-awaited State Bureau of Investigation report on the fatal police shooting of Frank Nathaniel Clark and could respond to it as soon as next week.
Echols said he expects to finish his review of the investigation report, which is hundreds of pages and includes audio of interviews, this week or early next week.
Clark, 34, was fatally shot by police at the McDougald Terrace public housing complex on Nov. 22. The SBI was asked to investigate the shooting, which is standard procedure. The report goes to Echols to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case or whether to close the investigation.
Echols has had the bulk of the report, which includes information gathered by the SBI but not a conclusion, since March 6. He received supplemental materials this week, he said.
Three other prosecutors in his office are also reviewing the report, he said.
Echols also plans to reach out to Clark’s family or a representative before making his decision public.
It would be atypical for Echols to review a case of this nature and announce a decision quickly, he said.
If Echols decides to charge any of the officers with a crime, he will be limited in what he can say about the case, he said. If the decision is not to charge he will be able to provide more details about his reasoning.
If Echols plans to seek an indictment against an officer, the case would be sent to a grand jury. In general, a grand jury’s role is to determine whether a crime was probably committed by the defendant, Echols said.
Officer Monte Southerland, Master Officer Charles Barkley and Officer Christopher Goss were patrolling an area of Wabash and Dayton streets at McDougald Terrace around 12:30 p.m. Nov. 22, according to an initial police report on the incident.
This is what the report states happened:
Southerland saw Clark near Building 60 and got out of his patrol car to speak with him. Barkley pulled up and he and Southerland started talking to Clark. During the conversation, Clark reached for his waistband and a struggle ensued. Officers heard a shot. Southerland fell to the ground, and Barkley fired his weapon in response.
Goss immediately got on the radio and called for help.
Southerland, whose hurt his leg in the incident, and was taken to the hospital.
However, Reketa Bagley, who said she saw the encounter, said Barkley was patting Clark down when a gun went off. Police shouted “gun” and Clark “took off running,” she said.
According to the autopsy report, Clark was shot on the left side of his scalp, above his ear toward the top of his head. He also was shot in the back of his right thigh. The autopsy could not determine which wound occurred first.