A personal appeal from Collette Flanagan
Founder, Mothers Against Police Brutality
I would not wish upon any parent the loss of a child. I would not wish upon any family the loss of a cherished son to violence. But to lose a son to official police violence is a sorrow beyond grief. I lost my only son when Dallas Police Officer Clark Staller shot him seven times: Five times in my son’s chest, one gunshot wound in my son’s left arm, and a final shot, fired at close range, in my son’s back. Clinton was unarmed. While Officer Staller says that Clinton was struggling with him, at least four witnesses contradict that story, and say that Clinton was following the officer’s orders. Clinton was 25 years old, with a twin infant sons of his own.
My sorrow turned to anger when I learned the grim statistics about police violence in America. The Washington Post documented more than 705 fatal police shootings in the U.S. in 2015 through mid-September; the Guardian chronicled more than 837 deaths at the hands of police during the same period. One in five (21%) of the victims was unarmed. This homicidal brutality by police officers is an ongoing national disgrace.
My anger turned into determination when I discovered that the Dallas County District Attorney has not prosecuted a single Dallas officer for killing an unarmed person in the past 40 years. Despite hundreds of police shootings, the last indictment of a Dallas police officer in a shooting death was the murder in 1973 of Santos Rodriguez, an unarmed 12-year-old boy. In more than 9 out of 10 cases, the victims of Dallas police shootings are African-American or Latino.
I am determined to win justice for my son, but I need your help. The police department cleared Officer Staller in the murder of my son, and the former district attorney refused to indict my son’s killer. Nothing has happened to Clark Staller, no punishment, no missed pay, no loss of rank, no charges, no trial — nothing. I want charges brought against this officer. And I want the Mayor of Dallas to appoint a blue ribbon panel to review all police shootings of unarmed persons since 1973. We have a right to know what really happened in each case.