Police meet with neighbors near where man was shot by officer
Posted 9:59 a.m. Monday
Updated 10:07 a.m. Tuesday
Durham, N.C. — Police held a meeting in Durham’s McDougald Terrace neighborhood Monday in an attempt to foster trust between residents and officers after a man was shot in a struggle with police last Tuesday.
Frank Nathaniel Clark, 34, of Durham, was shot by an officer, and Officer Monte Southerland suffered a leg injury in the confrontation.
According to Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis, Sutherland and two others -- Officer Christopher Goss and Master Officer Charles Barkley – were in uniform but in an unmarked vehicle on patrol in the area when they encountered Clark and stopped to speak with him. During the conversation, Clark made a sudden movement toward his waistband, and the officers engaged in a struggle with the man.
During the struggle, the officers heard a gunshot and an officer fired his weapon, Davis said.
Neighbors who witnessed the shooting questioned the DPD’s version of events, saying Clark did not reach for a weapon. "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."
In the days following Clark’s death, residents of McDougald Terrace voiced concerns about their interactions with police and said there is a lack of trust.
Police hope Monday’s meeting will strengthen the relationship between the two groups, alleviating residents' fears. City leaders and officers say the conversation is necessary, stating that they don't want the relationship to diminish because of last week's shooting.
"I'm hoping that what happens tonight can result in a resolution and we can all move forward and make our community safer and better, especially for our children. That's my biggest focus tonight," said McDougald Terrace Community President Ashley Canady. "It's interactions, the approach, how residents are approached. I feel once they can get a better relationship and a better way of approaching our residents, I feel like we could make a big difference out here."
The meeting began at 6 p.m. inside the recreational center at McDougald Terrace. At the meeting, residents will be invited to voice their concerns and share their ideas about how to improve the relationship between officers and citizens. Cameras were not allowed inside the meeting to allow for open and honest conversation, Davis said.
"I really want to reserve the privacy of the community members that are here and let them know that the department is incensed to what is occurring in the community and we're very concerned, very committed to help them get through this," Davis said.