No charges for officers involved in November shooting in Durham's McDougald Terrace neighborhood

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Frank Clark

The Durham County District Attorney's office said Monday that no charges will be filed against the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Frank Clark.

Clark was shot in the McDougald Terrace neighborhood November 22. A report on the shooting issued by the Durham Police Department soon after the shooting said officers M.D. Southerland and C.S. Barkley started talking to Clark when Clark reached for his waistband and a struggle started.

During the struggle, the officers heard a shot and Southerland fell to the ground. Barkley fired his weapon in response. A third officer, C.Q. Goss, radioed for help.

An autopsy report released by the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Clark was shot in the head and right thigh. It also said he had cocaine, methadone, and oxycodone in his system.

An attorney for Clark's family said it believes he was shot from behind while fleeing.

"When people die under violent circumstances, the typical procedure is to have the grand jury review the situation. There is no reason we should depart from that practice when police officers are involved. Given the close working relationship between the police and the DA's office, and the fact that the officers involved have a history of excessive force, we call on Mr. Echols to refer this matter to a grand jury. When someone is shot from behind by police, their family and community deserve to know that every opportunity to find the truth and justice was taken," said Dave Hall, a senior attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice who represents members of Frank Clark's family.

The report says a loaded 9 millimeter handgun was found on the ground next to Clark. It had been reported stolen in January.

The Durham Police Department issued a statement in response to the district attorney's ruling.

"The Durham Police Department remains committed to working with our community to preserve safety, trust and accountability. The report released today by the Durham County District Attorney, related to the death of Frank Nathaniel Clark, will be considered along with other evidence in the department's administrative investigation associated with this incident to determine compliance with department policies and procedures. The department expects this final phase of the investigation to be concluded in approximately three to four weeks.

"Officers who have been on administrative duty pending the conclusion of the SBI's criminal investigation will remain on administrative assignment until the department's investigation is completed. The public will be notified at the conclusion of the department's investigation as an addendum to the five-day report."

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