Police collect evidence at the scene of a shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The family of Mario Clark, 31, had alleged that he was beaten by Jackson police officers six days before his death. Now the Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham has determined that his internal injuries are consistent with strangulation and suffocation. Ruling that his death is a homicide reports WLOX.
Clark was removed from life support on Wednesday. Jackson Police Chief James Davis said the department will make a statement once the Internal Affairs investigation is complete.
“We feel very vindicated that now they are going to be held responsible for what they did, because he did not deserve that,” Kristale Bennett, Clark’s girlfriend, told WLOX. “Justice will prevail and he’s going to change a lot of black men’s lives in this world.”
“He wanted everyone to be the best they could be,” she added. “He had a long life in a short time.”
Mario’s family was leaving a meeting with Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba when they heard the news.
Mario’s mother, Shelia Ragland, called 911 on Valentine’s Day and told the dispatcher that her son, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, needed to be transported to the hospital because he was having an episode.
“I said ‘please don’t send me no officers over here that’s going to hurt my child’,” she said. “I asked them to come in and help me with my baby and they came in but they came in strong.”
Ragland said that the police beat and kicked Clark before handcuffing him.
“I put him on a pillow on my floor so nobody would do no more harm to him, but then this police officer kicked him in the head while I was trying to calm him down,” Ragland said. “I already knew my baby was dead,” she said. “My baby died in this house. Right here.”
Clark was scheduled to start a new job at Nissan on Tuesday. He leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.
As of Wednesday, the four police officers accused of beating him were on administrative leave.
“I’m overjoyed but at the same time, I’m still sad because we will never get him back,” Clark’s sister Ciara Elder said. “This shows the people, the community, everybody that he was killed by the hands of some people that were going to protect and serve and they didn’t do that.”