MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The shooting death of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis police has sparked a movement of change.
On March 30, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the officers involved, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, would not face charges. Ringgenberg says during a struggle, Clark grabbed his gun. That’s when he told Schwarze to shoot him.
The struggle started when police were called after two EMS workers said Clark was interfering with them as they tried to treat a woman who had been hurt.
That woman, RayAnn Hayes, allegedly told those EMS workers that it was Clark who hurt her. She denies ever saying that.
The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar Clark put together a rally at the Hennepin County Government Center on Friday. The group plans to march from there to the State Theatre downtown, where they plan to roast the “MinnRoast,” a gathering of politicians.
While they prepare to march, another group is near the 4th Precinct prepared to reoccupy the space in its continued fight for charges against the officers involved in Clark’s death.
“I just hope that a lot of people come here. I really do, because it’s important,” said Alex Clark, Jamar Clark’s cousin.
Alex Clark says he believes the reoccupation of the 4th Precinct is necessary to bring about change.
“I chose the reoccupation because it’s effective,” said Clark.
Clark says the 18 day occupation last year forced Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to take the fate of officers Ringgenberg and Schwartze out of the hands of a grand jury. Freeman’s decision not to charge the officers made Clark push for the reoccupation.
“We got to keep putting pressure on the people who’s in political power,” Clark said.
Clark believes a large gathering will send a message of solidarity.
“It was never violent, it was never none of that,” he said.
Clark said the last occupation was one where people from all walks of life came together to create a community. He hopes to recreate that community and says he is committed to staying there until there is justice for Jamar.
“I got into this for justice for Jamar, because I really believe that black lives do matter,” Clark said.
The group at Plymouth Avenue north is not as large as crowds in the past. The group at the Government Center plans to march where politicians are gathered tonight in an attempt to get their attention. They want charges against Riggenberg and Schwartze and changes to a system they say is not fair to everyone.
These two groups are unrelated. The group outside the 4th Precinct is basically made up of some of Jamar Clark’s relatives and closest friends. They are separate from Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and other groups, but Alex Clark said he hopes the groups show up to support the reoccupation.