MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A decision on whether two Minneapolis police officers will be charged in Jamar Clark‘s shooting death will be announced Wednesday morning.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman plans to make his announcement at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Hennepin County Government Center. In addition to the decision, Freeman said he’ll talk in detail about the events from that evening, talk about the evidence and show video.
Freeman made the announcement earlier this month that he would decide the case on his own. He said the grand jury process is not transparent enough.
Clark, 24, was killed during a struggle with two Minneapolis police officers on Nov. 15, 2015. Police were responding to an assault call at the time. They said Clark was trying to prevent paramedics from helping a woman.
The police union said Clark reached for an officer’s gun during a struggle, and that’s why officers shot him.
Some witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot; the department disputes that claim.
Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were on paid leave, but have since returned to desk duty.
Clark’s death led to weeks of protests by Black Lives Matter outside the 4th Police Precinct in North Minneapolis. Protesters were demanding that investigators release video of the shooting, video Governor Mark Dayton said he watched and called inconclusive.
When Freeman announced he would not use a grand jury, he also said he has no plans to use them going forward in cases involving police shootings.
It’s the first police shooting case in the county in 40 years that has not gone to a grand jury.
In every case where the victim died in that span, a grand jury found there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with charges. Freeman said he began questioning the grand jury process months ago.
Regardless of what is announced Wednesday, the groups Black Liberation Project and Black Lives Matter said they’ll gather at 6 p.m. at Elliot Park near downtown Minneapolis.
“We will not tolerate police engaging in excessive force against our community. We will not tolerate the criminalization of the African American community. And we will not tolerate white supremacists acts of violence towards peaceful protesters. As we await the Hennepin County Attorney’s decision on whether to charge the officers who killed Jamar Clark, our community is making plans to engage in nonviolent peaceful protest and to exercise our rights to freedom of speech,” a video by Adja Gildersleve said.
Since last November, protesters have demanded justice in the death of Clark.
For them, that means murder charges and convictions for the two police officers involved.