No charges will be filed against the two Minneapolis officers involved in the shooting death last November of Jamar Clark, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday morning.
Freeman disclosed his decision in a downtown Minneapolis news conference two weeks after bypassing the more common option of letting a grand jury make a charging determination, the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports.
Freeman said the evidence supports the officers' account of the confrontation, in which they said Clark grabbed one of their guns and that he was not handcuffed at the time he was shot.
Freeman said Officer Mark Ringgenberg was trying to arrest Clark and Clark was resisting. Ringgenberg and Clark went to the ground with Ringenberg falling on his back on top of Clark. Forensic evidence, including DNA on the grip of Officer Ringgenberg's gun, corroborate the officers' account that Clark grabbed Ringgenberg's pistol and tried to disarm him, pulling the gun around to the small of Ringgenberg's back where he could not fight off the gun grab. Ringgenberg said to his partner, "He's got my gun."
Ringgenberg's partner at the scene, Officer Dustin Schwarze, put his pistol to Clark's face and ordered Clark to release Ringgenberg's pistol or Schwarze would shoot him. Clark replied, "I'm ready to die." Schwarze then attempted to shoot Clark but his weapon would not fire because the slide would not go into battery. He pulled the trigger again and fired a single shot striking Clark in the head.
Clark was transported to the hospital where he died.
Freeman spent part of his press conference explaining how Minnesota law and federal law justified Officer Schwarze's shooting of Clark. He said, "disarming or attempting to disarm a police officer is a Minnesota felony." He also said Schwarze's use of deadly force was "objectively reasonable" given the totality of circumstances.
Clark, 24, a black man, was shot and killed by police on the night of Nov. 15. The shooting led to international attention, widespread local protests, and an 18-day encampment outside the police department’s Fourth Precinct in north Minneapolis, near the site of the shooting.
Black Lives Matter has announced it will hold a rally at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Elliot Park in Minneapolis, KARE TV reports.