Residents of the McDougald Terrace public housing community gathered Wednesday to mourn a man fatally shot by police and to vent their frustration over the death.
After gathering for a vigil near the sycamore tree where the man died, about 50 people then protested outside Durham police headquarters on Wednesday night.
Police identified the man Wednesday as Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34. The three officers involved in the shooting – Officer M.D. Southerland, Master Officer C.S. Barkley and Officer C.Q. Goss – have all been placed on administrative duty pending an SBI investigation.
Two squat, white candles surrounded by stuffed animals marked the spot Wednesday where the shooting happened, reportedly after a struggle in the 1200 block of Dayton Street, near the intersection of Wabash Street at McDougald Terrace. A statement said Clark lived in Durham, though not in the McDougald apartments.
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Jasmine Lloyd, the mother of Clark’s seven-month-old daughter, said at Wednesday’s vigil that she last talked with Clark in the early afternoon Tuesday.
He was a good man, a good father and a good daddy. I just want to know why. I want justice for his baby.
Jasmine Lloyd, the mother of Frank Nathaniel Clark’s seven-month-old daughter
“He was a good man, a good father and a good daddy,” she said. “I just want to know why. I want justice for his baby.”
The organizers of Wednesday’s protest handed out leaflets that indicated the family is working with legal counsel and that demanded that the officers involved be fired and prosecuted in criminal court. They asked residents to share stories about “repeated harassment of people in our community” by police.
Other demands also include that an independent autopsy be conducted and that the city pay for Clark’s funeral and set up a fund to ensure that his three children are taken care of.
Police have not said which officers fired the fatal shots.
But some eyewitnesses said a gun went off while Barkley was searching Clark. Reketa Bagley, who has a 13-month-old daughter with Clark, said Clark then “took off running” as the officers pulled their weapons and fired. She said Clark was struck
in the back of the head, torso and back.
Bagley said the interaction with police began about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday as Clark was about to walk into her apartment on Dayton Street. An officer driving a blue, unmarked car pulled alongside the sidewalk in front of the two-story duplex, she said. A next-door neighbor looking out of her window said Clark was opening the screen door of Bagley’s apartment when the officer asked to talk to him.
That officer radioed for help, and a second officer in a black and white patrol car pulled in behind the unmarked Impala, Bagley said.
A third police vehicle, a Dodge Charger, then pulled up. Witnesses said the officer who got out of that vehicle was patting Clark down when a gun fired. The officers shouted “gun,” pulled their weapons and began firing at Clark, who was running away, the witnesses said.
The officers shot about four times, according to Bagley. Clark was struck by gunfire and made it several feet out of the front yard before falling at the foot of a tree. Later, Bagley put stuffed bears at the base of the tree where Clark’s head lay after the shooting.
Ashley Canady, 30, who has lived in the McDougald Terrace community for 11 years, said she was standing on her back porch, smoking a cigarette, when she heard gunshots Tuesday.
She said Barkley was a familiar face in the community and was at a community safety meeting late last month.
“He talked to the kids,” she said. “He showed them how to use their safety belt, so they can be seen outside after dark.”
Canady said the master officer also participated in the neighborhood’s National Night Out activities this year.
Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis and members of her command staff met with some of the residents Wednesday afternoon.
We’re here meeting with the community to let them know we are here. We are sensitive to what happened.
Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis
“We’re here meeting with the community to let them know we are here,” she said after the meeting. “We are sensitive to what happened.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Deputy Chief Anthony Marsh, who said the department knew members of the community “are hurting.”
“We’re hurting too,” he said. “It’s a loss for the community. It’s a loss for us as well.”
Southerland was hurt during a struggle with Clark and was treated at Duke University Hospital for a leg injury and released, police said. The victim and the officers all are African American.
Police said the shooting happened while the three officers were talking to Clark about previous violent incidents in the area. The three were wearing uniforms and had been canvassing the housing community for information, Davis said.
A gun that did not belong to police was found next to the man’s body, Davis said. None of the officers was hit by gunfire.
Tuesday’s shooting was the fourth fatal officer-involved shooting in Durham since 2013. It came less than 24 hours after the Durham City Council approved the purchase of police body cameras.
A 2006 News & Observer story reported that Barkley was accused by a Durham woman of using excessive force when he used a flashlight to break up a fight between two girls outside Jordan High School. Capricia Crennell, who was 15 at the time, suffered a skull fracture from the incident. Barkley was working an off-duty assignment for a basketball game at the school.
A 2015 N&O story reported that the police department’s Internal Affairs office had sustained a claim that Southerland, who was listed as being an investigator at the time, had used excessive force by using a Taser stun gun on a teenage boy while working with other officers to break up a family quarrel.
The three officers involved in Tuesday’s shooting were members of the Violent Incident Response Team, which focuses on “gathering intelligence and following up on violent-crime incidents,” according to a Police Department statement.
After the shooting, the police reached out to local ministers to help encourage dialogue, Davis said, as well as Anthony Scott, the director of the Durham Housing Authority, which operates McDougald Terrace.
No dash camera footage caught the incident, but the Police Department is asking any individuals with video to share the information.
A community coalition called Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement (FADE) released a statement after the shooting saying “community policing killed this young man.”
The Police Department was in the neighborhood “not because anyone had called them to be,” but because they decided to put this neighborhood under surveillance, the statement said.