MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old man shot and killed by Minneapolis police in November, had accused police of excessive force in another arrest months before his death.
Clark died last month in what the police union described as a struggle for an officer’s gun. Meanwhile, witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when an officer shot him in the head.
That case is still under investigation, and it’s sparked weeks of protest.
WCCO-TV has obtained video of Clark being arrested by Minneapolis police in July. The video shows Clark driving a stolen car and leading officers on a high-speed chase through residential streets.
In an interview after his arrest, Clark claims he was punched while unconscious.
The dash cam video of the July 29 arrest shows the car chase through residential streets in north Minneapolis.
Clark blows through stop signs and down an alley. The speed of the chase increases before a squad hits a tree, and Clark comes to a halt in a home’s front yard.
Clark walks out of the stolen car with his hands up. He disappears out of frame before a police officer brings him down to the ground.
The officer attempting to arrest Cark then points his gun at one of the teenagers who is getting out of the car. Meanwhile, other officers rush in to help.
The video shows one of the juveniles being pulled away.
About 35 seconds after that, police radio that the scene is under control. The police transmission says three people are in custody and “all accounted for.”
The video does not show Clark being put into the squad car.
However, Clark’s interview with police in the squad car was recorded.
Police ask Clark when he was last arrested.
“Five years ago,” Clark says.
That is not true.
Court documents show Clark was arrested in St. Paul in March of 2015 on two felonies: domestic assault and criminal damage to property. In April of 2015, he pleaded guilty to felony domestic assault.
The night of the high speed chase he was on probation.
After his arrest, Clark accuses officers of abuse.
“I got choked-out,” he said. “When I got tackled, somebody punched me in my face.”
On tape, police tell Clark that one officer did in fact punch him once during the arrest.
After that, an officer tells Clark that if he would have pulled over “none of this would have happened.”
Clark accused police of punching him seven times when he was on the ground. Clark said he was unconscious and had a seizure.
Clark then says he fears being killed by police.
“I don’t want to die,” he said.
In response, an officer says that people die all the time and that “everybody on earth is going to die.”
Clark cuts in with: “by police.”
Not true, the officer says.
Clark repeatedly refused to give police his name, the audio recording shows, and he accused them of killing one of the teenagers who was with him.
The teens were not killed.
In fact, the teens told police in a separate interview that they had been terrified during the chase.
“The scariest part is when I thought [the car] was going to hit the house,” one of them said.
WCCO-TV interviewed a witness to the arrest, whose version of events differs sharply from Clark’s.
The witness, who didn’t want to be named or show her face on camera, said she didn’t see Clark being hit by police.
She said that during the arrest Clark asked her to videotape what was happening. A month later, he returned asking for video.
“I said, ‘No, I don’t have any of it on video,'” the witness said. “He said, ‘Well, did you see them hit me or anything like that?’ And I was like, ‘Unfortunately, I did not see them hitting you; you were tugging, they were tugging, that was kind of expected of them to gain control back.'”
She said that while there was “a little struggle in the front yard,” she did not see Clark being hit by police.
WCCO-TV showed the arrest video, along with pages of police reports, to former St. Paul Police Chief Bill Finney.
Finney served as chief for 12 years and is now a St. Paul City Council member.
“I think Minneapolis police officers acted accordingly and with the proper use of force,” Finney said.
He said the high-speed chase in a stolen car put the public and the two juveniles in the car in danger, and after looking at the video and Clark’s mug shot after the arrest, he does not buy Clark’s claim he was punched multiple times.
“Was he tackled? Yes he was. Was he was he handcuffed? Yes he was,” Finney said. “I don’t think they were being overly harsh with the handcuffing.”
The officers involved in the July arrest are not the same officers involved in the Nov. 15 shooting that killed Clark.
Two people told WCCO-TV that Clark had mentioned filing an excessive force claim against Minneapolis police over the July arrest. WCCO-TV did not see any paperwork to suggest he ever did.
WCCO-TV reached out to Clark’s family to let them know this story would be airing.