Press Conference Following TPD Shooting of Tristan Clark
Attorneys for the family of Tristan Clark, who was shot and killed by Tuscaloosa Police just after noon on, December 20, held a press conference on Thursday, December 28 at Greater Faith Church in Moundville, AL.
Clark was shot during a traffic stop on 37th Street. Captain Jack Kennedy a Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Deputy who commands the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said the VCU believes narcotics officers stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation.
There were reportedly several people in the vehicle, and an individual in the backseat reportedly had an outstanding warrant for their arrest.
Kennedy continued and said the VCU believes the narcotics officer ordered the individual out of the vehicle and that's when he noticed a gun in the waistband. After being ordered not to touch the firearm, the man reportedly tried to grab it anyway and the officer started to attempt to wrestle the weapon away from him.
The suspect was able to remove the weapon and, after failing to comply with commands to drop the firearm, an officer fired his weapon, and the suspect was struck several times. Emergency services were called immediately and rendered aid, but the suspect was deceased.
Attorney Reginald McDonald from Birmingham was the first to speak at Greater Faith Church, "Tristan Clark was a young man who was in the process of turning his life around...There is no justification for this. Don't ask why, ask why this keeps happening. I want to assure you that we are going to continue to investigate and talk to people and get to the bottom of this, get to the truth."
Attorney Juandalynn Givan also from Birmingham was next to speak. "Say his name. Say his name. Say his name... Tristan Clark joins the ranks of George Flloyd, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, and how could we forget Breanna Taylor... We are here to seek justice for Tristan Clark. We are here to seek justice for a young man who was shot four times."
Givan also requested records of the incident, "We are demanding all records be turned over. The question of whether or not there was body cams. If there was no body cams the question needs to be, why? Why are some officers or some divisions held to a standard that others are not held to? We are requesting all preservation of evidence. We are seeking justice."
NAACP Tuscaloosa County President Lisa Young spoke, "This devastating event has underscored the pressing need for increased accountability and transparency within our law enforcement agencies."
Young explained what she meant by accountability and transparency, "We demand the implementation of body and dash cameras on all members of law enforcement employed by the city of Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department."
Family members of Clark also were given a chance to speak. First was Clark's girlfriend, Jakiyyah Dixon. "Since I knew him, he has been the sweetest and most lovable person ever. He has three kids that he would've done anything for...It’s distressing for me and his family to know he was killed by the police, the people who are supposed to help us and provide.”
His sister, Megan Clark, took the time to speak as well, "He was a gentle giant. He always was helpful. He loved his three beautiful kids, who all look just like him. Looking at their faces and seeing them not understand what's going on, hurts. We have to live without him; it's unfair."
Tristan's mother also took the podium, "That was my oldest son. My miracle baby. I would have never imagined on December 20 to get that phone call that I received about my son. My gentle giant, so loving and caring. He loved his family, he loved his children. I want justice for my son. I want justice for me, my family, and his children. No one’s child deserves what happened to Tristan. That could have been anybody. I’m asking everybody, to stand up and help me fight for justice for my son."
For more on the situation as it develops, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.
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