JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The state medical examiner has ruled Mario Clark’s death as a homicide. The cause of death was strangulation and suffocation.
Clark was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a child. On February 14, he was having an schizophrenic episode, and his mother, Sheila Ragland, called police seeking assistance in transporting him to the hospital -- but instead, she said they beat him to death.
When Clark’s family got the news Thursday afternoon, they said they already knew that his death was caused by the beating he received at the hands of Jackson police officers.
Tuesday night, Clark’s mother was too upset to speak on camera, so his sister and girlfriend spoke for the family instead.
Clark’s girlfriend Kristale Bennett said they would have celebrated their one year anniversary in April.
“I just know that when you have somebody that loves you. We fought for him, and we’re going to keep on fighting for him,” she said.
Bennett was there the night of beating, and she spoke about what should happen to the officers now.
“They should not be able to smile and laugh and giggle and celebrate and have birthdays," she said. “We go
t to celebrate him through spirit. We can’t touch or feel him anymore.”
Since his death, she said she and his family have not been able to get the images of that night out of their minds.
“I could not sleep. We had no rest. I’ve had no rest," said Bennett. "You can count how many hours I have the had on one hand.”
Clark’s sister, Shereake Elder, is upset, because she feels the Jackson Police Department let her family down...and more than that, let her brother down.
“When you go to people houses don’t be so aggressive," she said. “Yes, we know that you are authorities, but don’t over abuse that authority because people really need help.”
Elder said that had the officers been trained on how to handle mental health calls, her brother would be alive today.
“I just want them to think about it," she said. "When you get called to another domestic or a mental illness call, that you handle the situation way better than you did. Because now I’m about to bury my brother next Saturday, that I will never see again.”