St. Louis, MO — When the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT team’s no-knock raid took place at the home of Don Clark Sr., a 63-year-old Army veteran in February of 2017, Clark was left dead. Police quickly said Clark had fired at them and a subsequent search of the home turned up two handguns and a lot of narcotics. Four years later, Clark’s family is suing, claiming he was unarmed and was sleeping quietly in his bed.
The Clark family has hired Jerryl Christmas to represent them in a civil suit. The Free Thought Project interviewed Christmas to get a better understanding as to how Mr. Clark ended up shot and killed, and was made to look like a violent individual who was dealing narcotics.
We hope that through the lawsuit we will be able to flesh out how these narcotics ended up in don’s house but we do not believe the narrative police have given in this case.
Christmas told TFTP Mr. Clark was previously a paratrooper and had gotten injured in the service but was forced to walk with a cane and a walker. “He was diabetic, had bad eyesight as well as bad hearing,”
We asked Christmas about the two firearms and drugs police say they found on-scene.
“Whoever controls the crime scene controls the narrative,” Christmas said adding he’s firmly committed to getting to the truth as to what happened with Mr. Clark’s killing. Neither the family nor Mr. Christmas believes Clark owned any weapons nor opened fire on officers.
As a result of the lawsuit, the family and their lawyer will be able to begin the discovery process and identify any weapons police say they recovered as well as the drugs they allegedly recovered following the shooting which left Clark dead in his bed.
According to the Washington Post:
Sam Dotson, the St. Louis police chief at the time, said the SWAT team knocked on the door and announced they were police. He then said police were met with a gunshot fired from inside Clark’s home…How St. Louis police obtained the no-knock warrant to raid Clark’s home late on Feb. 21, 2017, is central to his family’s lawsuit, which claims Officer Thomas Strode, a detective, used bad information and “lied” to get clearance to enter the house.
To obtain a no-knock search warrant, usually a judge will sign off on the procedure using whatever probable cause police have established. In the officer-involved shooting death of Mr. Clark, the probable cause used in the case will be carefully scrutinized to see if detectives were acting on good or bad information.
For the family’s part, they believe the detective involved, Thomas Strode, lied in order to get the no-knock search warrant. Friends, family, as well as neighbors of Clark believe he was an innocent man, a victim of overzealous policing activities of the St. Louis MPD.
The idea of cops lying to obtain a warrant is not far fetched, and in fact happens all the time.
Christmas told us at TFTP Mr. Clark was an upstanding citizen who had even owned his own security company at one time. Yet, the disabled veteran paratrooper, and grandfather, was viciously gunned down by police and painted as a violent drug dealer. The two images do not seem to fit and certainly police have painted him in a light much different from the image his friends and family have of the senior citizen.
The Washington Post described Clark’s violent death:
Clark told his son he was looking forward to getting a good night’s rest, but after he had fallen asleep at about 8 p.m., 17 police officers rammed through his door and set off the diversionary device — without warning they were law enforcement and they would enter, the lawsuit alleges.
One police officer, Nicholas Manasco, then “shot a barrage of bullets from an assault rifle,” the lawsuit says. “At least nine bullets entered Mr. Clark’s body, nearly ripping his forearm from his elbow joint.”
Clark fell face down beside his bed. “The officers never tried to stanch the blood,” the lawsuit alleges. “Mr. Clark tried to speak, but all that came out was an unintelligible mumble.” Clark died soon after.
Clark’s case seems eerily similar to the officer-involved shooting deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas by Houston cops in a no-knock raid conducted at their residence in 2019. Houston cops painted the couple as drug dealing criminals who opened fire on the officers resulting in their deaths and the death of their dog. At the time, neighbors were adamant both Tuttle and Nicholas were true patriots who had expressed undying support for law enforcement adding Tuttle, too, was a veteran. TFTP writes:
The following May, the case had reached a turning point after the family hired a forensics expert to examine the home and found that there is no evidence the officers encountered gunfire. Then, in a major move in August of 2019, the cop who lied to obtain the warrant for the raid—was charged with murder in the first degree, with several others charged shortly after. Then, in January of this year, a half dozen more officers have been charged, with four of them facing life in prison.
In June of this year, Officer Steven Bryant, 47, became the first officer to be convicted in the Tuttle and Nicholas case after pleading guilty to obstructing justice by falsifying records that justified the deadly raid. For now, it is too early to tell whether or not Clark’s family will get justice in the officer-involved shooting death of their loved one. But one thing is certain, they do not believe St. Louis police are telling the truth and with the help of their lawyer, they’re going to get to the bottom of the matter.