In late November, a Clackamas County grand jury determined two law enforcement officers would not face criminal charges.
CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. — The family of Derrick Clark and their attorney released the body camera and dashcam footage of the fatal police shooting and killing of the 24-year-old Tigard man in June following a car chase near Milwaukie. The release comes just two weeks after a grand jury cleared two law enforcement officers of wrongdoing.
In late November, a Clackamas County grand jury returned a “not true bill,” clearing Clackamas County Sheriff’s detective Daniel Ferguson and Oregon State Police trooper Zachary Cole of wrongdoing for the fatal shooting of Derrick Dewayne Clark.
On Friday, Clark’s mother, Sarah Miles, and her attorney released police body camera and dashcam video, and sent a statement which said she is angry about the grand jury’s decision.
“No one has yet to tell me why my son was shot in the first place. My son was running away from the police when they shot him. He did not threaten anyone, and he should be with us here today,” said Miles.
The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of June 18, after a police chase and car crash near Milwaukie. Both law enforcement officers tried to stop Clark, suspecting that he was driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to the Oregon Department of Justice. When he didn’t stop the car, they followed on a high speed chase, until Clark’s car stopped in a ditch near Milwaukie’s business-industrial area.
The newly released video shows the situation escalated in around six seconds, as officers, then Clark, exit their vehicles. In the clip, officers shouted for Clark to put up his hands, and then fired several shots at Clark as he ran away. One of the officers yelled that Clark had a gun.
KGW spoke with Dr. Keith Taylor, a former public safety professional for New York Police Department and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, for an outside perspective on the video.
“It is an absolutely tragic situation,” he said, “I think this situation, and from what we can see from the video, highlights the difficulties that are involved in this police work and how decisions have to be made, life and death situations within, you know, milliseconds.”
Taylor said a combination of factors: from the non-compliance with police orders, to the gun in Clark’s hand may have led to the officer’s actions that night.
“One thing that I think is important is there is also this backdrop of race…You cannot ignore the statistics that show the inequities in terms of when lethal force is used and how it’s used based on race. But you also have to look at the individual actions that are involved in each of these cases.”
Clark’s family is seeking the release of the grand jury transcript, and intends to file a lawsuit, according to their attorney.