Life One Week Ago Today in Bellingham…
posted by May 2 at 10:10 AMon
24-year-old David Duncan Clark died after a four-hour standoff with police.
As KOMO reports, officers were called to Clark’s home after getting calls that he and three other people were “acting disorderly and throwing objects out the windows.” When police arrived, Clark reportedly flashed a weapon from the front porch then retreated into the house, instigating a four-hour, SWAT-team-enhanced standoff. “At some point, Clark charged at police with the gun,” reports KOMO. “After attempting to disarm the man by shooting at him with immobilizing beanbags, two officers discharged their firearms at him. Clark then retreated into the house…Officers broke the door down at around 9:30 p.m. and found the man dead inside.” Later reports identify Duncan’s weapon as a pellet gun, and confirm Duncan died of a rifle shot to the back.
Which brings us to this I, Anonymous submission:
When a tragic event takes place, we must remember that those involved are real people. They are more than the sum of their parts. I urge Bellingham to remember who Dave was, and to try to not judge him by his actions. Dave was not a deranged immoral drug addict, he was mentally ill. He was sick and needed help. He struggled to maintain his hold on reality and we (friends and family) gave as much support as we could.
David Duncan Clark was a loving, caring, dedicated musician and philanthropist. He was a Western graduate, a member of our community, a friend. He had a contagious laugh, was an superb story teller and had an unshakable determination to become a professional musician. He had plans to change the face of the music industry, plans to help every musician who has a dream in their heart to share it with the world. He was going to be one of those dads who always comes home for dinner, helps around the house and never misses a game or recital.
My anger extends to both parties of this event. What Dave did was out of character, dangerous, selfish, and stupid. Yet he should have been given the chance to be held responsible for his actions. A mentally ill person does not need to be gunned down, they need help.
I am appalled by the behavior of the Bellingham Police Department. How did one man warrant the need for an armored vehicle and a swat team?! The media has created this image that the BPD did society a favor by taking down an obviously disturb man. When they truly robbed the world from unknown potential greatness.
Where is the justice? At the very least take away the badges from the officers who took away all they could from Dave, his life. We have seen the abuse of police power, and the abuse of police force too often. Who is responsible for ordering shots to be fired? Someone must be held accountable for Dave’s death. The Bellingham police used unnecessary force. It is horrific the way in which the police responded. Where were the tazers, the mace? What happened to police procedure? Where was the negotiator? Why was there no effort to contact someone who could talk Dave down? Why wasn’t a dog used? Why were they so quick to use lethal force after only one non-lethal attempt? Doesn’t a SWAT team own riot gear and bullet proof vest? Did a 150 lb man truly seem so menacing that he needed to be killed rather than persuaded? What kind of police dept does not teach non lethal disarment? Is a torso that hard to miss? Why was he shot and then left inside to bleed to death?
Yes Dave endangered the community but he did not deserve the degree of force used. It was excessive and it cost his friends, family and the world a unnecessary loss of a wonderful man. I hope that our community will respond to this event with compassion and a desire for justice.
A friend in mourning
For what’s it’s worth, cops reportedly tried to subdue Duncan with bean-bag shots and a Taser before fatally shooting him in the back.
Condolences to everyone.
Photo from the Bellingham Herald.