Despite calls from the community and members of the Durham City Council to release personnel files associated with the three members of the Durham Police Department involved in the November 22 shooting death of Frank “Scooter Bug” Clark, City Manager Tom Bonfield said early this evening that he would not request that the City Council authorize him to do so.
Charles Barkley, Monte Sutherland, and Christopher Goss remain on administrative leave as an SBI investigation (one the council has asked Governor Roy Cooper to expedite) into their actions that day in McDougald Terrace continues.
Bonfield said that he wanted to allow the case to play out in a “fair and impartial way” and that releasing the files would not benefit “the public as well as the personnel involved.” This news comes the same day that saw the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office release Clark’s autopsy, a report that identified the cause of death as gunshot wounds to the head and thigh.
Clark family attorney Dave Hall, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said the autopsy report is consistent with what eyewitnesses have claimed from the beginning—that Clark was fleeing when he was gunned down by Barkley, an officer dozens of McDougald Terrace residents claim has been terrorizing them for years. (Barkley was also involved in a 2014 taking incident that lead to an internal investigation into allegations of the use of excessive force.
The one employment record relating to this case made available to the INDY (North Carolina has strict public records law regarding personnel matters) notes that both Southerland and Barkley have been suspended during their respective tenures with the DPD, but no information on the nature of those suspensions is available unless Bonfield reverses course.
Requests from the INDY to interview the officers involved in the Clark shooting have been denied.