Minneapolis officers involved in Jamar Clark shooting will not be disciplined – police chief

Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 24, 2015. © Craig Lassig
Two officers involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, will be returning to work after a nearly yearlong investigation. The November 15, 2015 shooting led to massive protests and riots in Minneapolis.

Police Chief Janee Harteau announced that the officers will not be criminally charged and were found to have not violated department policy. On Friday, Harteau held a press conference to explain that evidence gathered “was insufficient” to prove that the shooting was unnecessary.

 Harteau outlined the numerous agencies and authorities that went into the investigation of the November 15 incident.

I have concluded the use of deadly force was necessary," she said, citing evidence that alleged proved that Clark had grabbed a weapon from an officer’s holster. She also tried to dispel rumors that Clark was taken to the ground using a chokehold, but insisted that it was a department approved method to take Clark down.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she agreed with the decision not to discipline officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, saying that she trusts Harteau as well as all the investigators involved. Both Harteau and Hodges expressed their condolences to the Clark family.

I know some will be angry about this decision and find it difficult to accept,” she said, “and I get that.” She said that both Harteau and she will be available in conference calls to listen to members of the community who want to share their thoughts.

The two left without taking questions.

Jamar Clark was killed by officers in the wee hours of November 15 while leaving a party. Allegedly Clark and his girlfriend got into a fight while leaving a party. A neighbor called for paramedics and Clark was believed to have been interfering with them treating his girlfriend. Police intervened and a scuffle ensued.

Police claim that Clark attempted to grab a weapon from an officer’s holster when he was shot. However, initial rumors claimed that Clark was shot while handcuffed. While that rumor was put to rest at Friday’s conference, it resulted in massive protests in Minneapolis.

These protests turned violent after counter-protesters opened fire on the Black Lives Matter protesters. Four white men were arrested for the shootings and some were suspected of having connections to white supremacist groups.

Some protesters spent 18 days in an encampment outside of a police precinct to demonstrate against the shooting. In early December, the camp was demolished and eight people were arrested. Protests continued throughout December. Protests at the Mall of America shortly before Christmas led to multiple arrests.