Neighbors not surprised by deadly confrontation
Posted November 23, 2016
Durham, N.C. — Neighbors who witnessed the death of a Durham man at the hands of police Tuesday afternoon and the mother of his infant daughter were not surprised to learn the identity of one of the officers in that clash.
Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34, died after being shot during a struggle with three officers. Two women, neither of whom wanted to be identified for fear of retribution, told WRAL News that Officer Christopher Goss and Officer Monte Southerland were talking with Clark near the intersection of Wabash and Dayton streets, but that when Master Officer Charles Barkley arrived the situation escalated.
"Barkley's been messing with him for some years," Jasmine Lloyd, Clark's girlfriend said.
Clark, the father of four girls, had a long criminal record, including charges of assault, trespassing and drug possession dating to 1999, according to court records. His most recent conviction – on charges of drug and weapons possession – resulted in a five-year jail sentence. He got out in April 2015.
Lloyd said the man she knew was a good father. "I can honestly say, he was a good man," she said. "He was a good daddy."
All three officers were placed on leave with pay, and the State Bureau of Investigation will investigate the shooting, standard procedure after an officer fires a weapon in the line of duty.
Barkley has been with the Durham Police Department since January 1997. His record shows a single suspension, in April of 2014.
Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said the trio of officers heard a gunshot before firing on Clark.
Witnesses don't deny that Clark had a weapon, but said they did not see him reach for it or hear a shot.
"As he was about to turn around, they held him; they held him, a gun went off," a witness said. "He didn't shoot no gun. If he did have a gun, he didn't shoot it."
Lloyd couldn't be certain whether Clark had a weapon, but she said he did not deserve to die.
"If he was reaching for his waistband, if he did have a gun on him, his shirt’s small so you would’ve seen it," she said.
"Why did they have to kill him? Why you just couldn’t take him to jail," she asked.
Others said Clark's past is not the issue, but rather the constant intimidation they feel from by police.
"It's wrong, and there's nothing we can do," one witness said. "There's nothing we can do because these are the people we trust to protect us and to serve us."
A woman told WRAL News that Barkley fired multiple times.
"He tried to empty his clip on him. The other officers were like 'Man, stop shooting man. Stop shooting,'" she said.
Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who learned of the incident during a city work session, asked residents to withhold judgment until all the facts come out.
"As his family, we need justice. We want justice. And we’re going to get justice," Lloyd said through tears as she cradled his youngest daughter.
"He got kids out here. He got a baby. And this was his heart."