MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A deep community divide remains over how the Jamar Clark case has been handled one day after the announcement that two officers involved in his shooting death would not be charged.
After an evening of protests at several locations Wednesday night, it was a quiet Thursday both at the shooting scene and the 4th Precinct.
For critics of County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision not to file criminal charges, one of the key questions is the takedown from behind of Clark by Officer Mark Ringgenberg.
Supporters of the officer say the video has to be considered in the larger context of what was happening.
Critics say this proves Freeman made the wrong call.
When the video was shown at Wednesday’s news conference, there was a swift reaction from Clark’s family and supporters.
“How’s that resisting?” said one supporter.
Related: Timeline Of The Jamar Clark Case
NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds angrily confronted the county attorney.
“That was murder. That was a violent, a violent grasp,” Levy-Pounds said. “In your narrative you didn’t talk about the fact that he was violently slammed from behind by a police officer.”
Freeman said in an interview that the officers were justified in shooting Clark, but that the specific takedown move used by Ringgenberg is “not favored” by Minneapolis Police.
Chief Janeé Harteau would only say this at Wednesday’s news conference: “That will be something that will be under review.”
Ringgenberg’s attorney stressed the takedown had to be considered in context. Clark, moments before in an exchange that was not captured on video, had refused to take his hands out of his pockets; resisted being handcuffed; and that EMTs were so threatened they had locked themselves in their ambulance.
He later told investigators his goal was to get Clark in handcuffs. After the takedown, his feet can be seen kicking as he struggles with Clark.
It was then, police say, Clark went for Ringgenberg’s gun — a fact backed up by DNA evidence.
“[Ringgenberg] needed to get control of [Clark],” Bob Siccoli, Ringgenberg’s attorney said. “People may disagree with how he did it but he had to get control.”
Ringgenberg was sued while working as an officer in San Diego for roughing up a man and putting him in a chokehold. That suit was dismissed.
The actions of Ringgenberg and his partner, Dustin Schwarze, are still under investigation by MPD’s internal affairs division and a separate criminal investigation by the United States Department of Justice.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, rejected any suggestion that the takedown was in any way improper.
He says Minneapolis officers are trained to take suspects off their feet when they pose a threat.