Officers Won’t Face Charges
MINNEAPOLIS—For more than 30 minutes, the prosecutor described in exacting detail the fatal shooting in November of an unarmed Black man by the Police and his reasons for not charging the two officers involved.
For more than 30 minutes, the prosecutor described in exacting detail the fatal shooting in November of an unarmed Black man by the Police and his reasons for not charging the two officers involved.
The prosecutor, Mike Freeman, said the unarmed man, Jamar Clark, 24, had assaulted his girlfriend, interfered with paramedics and resisted when the officers tried to arrest him. He said Mr. Clark had grabbed one officer’s holstered gun, prompting the other officer to shoot. The evidence, he said, did not support claims by some witnesses that Mr. Clark was handcuffed when shot.
As soon as Mr. Freeman finished his presentation, activists who had gathered began to pepper him with a series of pointed questions. They told Mr. Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, that he had relied too much on the officers’ accounts and not enough on neighbors who witnessed the shooting. They criticized aspects of the investigation, and interrupted when Mr. Freeman tried to respond.
One woman told Mr. Freeman that if there was unrest in the city, it would be his fault.
After Mr. Clark’s shooting on Nov. 15, protests disrupted Minneapolis for weeks. Demonstrators occupied the area outside a police station, marched downtown and raised questions about racial disparities in Minnesota. The demonstrators sometimes clashed with officers, and one night, the police said, several men who were not part of the demonstration came and shot five people during a protest.
After Wednesday’s announcement, protesters gathered at the courthouse, exchanging hugs, crying and vowing to return to the streets. Near the scene of the shooting, children rode bikes and residents discussed the news. And at the police precinct that protesters occupied in November, new layers of fencing restricted access.
“An injustice has been done today,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, the president of the Minneapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “I believe they lie to us. I believe they tamper with evidence.”
Mr. Freeman’s presentation offered the fullest description yet of the shooting, which the police and witnessed portrayed differently last year. Many neighbors said that Mr. Clark was handcuffed when shot, but Mr. Freeman said D.N.A. and other evidence suggested that Mr. Clark’s hands were unrestrained and that he tried to gain control over one officer’s gun.
“Forensic evidence and video evidence both support the
belief that Clark was not handcuffed at any time through the altercation.” Said Mr. Freeman, whose office posted a trove of investigative documents online.
He said the officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, both of whom are white,” did not have a chance to
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