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Hennepin County Attorney: Police Officers Will Not Be Charged In Jamar Clark Case

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This morning Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman held a press conference to announce his decision to not bring charges against the officers involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark.

In his speech, Freeman announced his support for ongoing reform in regards to police use of force tactics, the legal standards that must be proven to charge a police officer with unauthorized deadly use of force, and went over the findings of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions investigation laid out in a timeline.

According to a post on the Hennepin county attorney’s website, Freeman said that Jamar Clark was not handcuffed and had his hand on police officer Mark Ringgenberg’s gun, and that he was instructed to remove his hand from the gun, which he did not.

A report of the incident that was also posted online stated that Clark told officer Dustin Schwarze that he was “ready to die,” when Schwarze told him to take his hand off the gun, after that Schwarze fired one shot hitting Clark 61 seconds after he had come into contact with police.

In yet another statement posed to the Hennepin county attorney’s website, Freeman summarized the legal issue that his office had to determine if the police officers violated, which is Minnesota Statute § 609.066, subdivision 2.

The statement further summarizes what the evidence of the case has to demonstrate in order to indict the officers on unauthorized deadly use of force.

“To repeat, the evidence must show unreasonable conduct by the police utilizing the perspective of a police officers and that the use of deadly force was not necessary to protect the officer or the public from a threat of great bodily harm or death,” the statement read.

In response to the announcement, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis posted on their Facebook page, saying that what Mike Freeman had said was propaganda to justify the murder of Jamar Clark, and that they will be holding a rally at Elliot Park at 6 p.m. that evening to join together as a community and demand justice.

Isuru Hearth, organizer of the recently formed People’s Collective, an activist based group that is focused on social justice and equality here at SCSU, was able to comment on the recent decision by phone.

“I want to clarify that my opinion is that of an ally, because I am not personally involved in this case, but the decision Mike Freeman made is not surprising to us at all in the social justice community,” Hearth Said.

“This is a systemic issue, we live in a developed society where there are rules and laws that are suppose to protect people from dying in police custody, and yet because of institutional white supremacy, black people are being killed and no one is ever held accountable,” he said.

Hearth also said he feels that Mike Freeman just used the speech as a way to justify the killing of Jamar Clark outlined how he only uses the police’s perspective and that the community members’ account of what happened on Nov. 15 was never taken seriously.

All of the posts to the Hennepin county attorney’s website that were referenced in this article can be found here.

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