MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Community leaders who have watched the Jamar Clark case closely, and even led protests over it, say their fight will continue after federal officials declined to charge the officers involved in his death.
Members of the Minneapolis NAACP and Black Lives Matter stood together outside the FBI Building during Wednesday’s news conference.
Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds says she is not surprised by the decision, and it only proves that our nation has an unequal justice system — one that she says treats people of color like second-class citizens.
“What we have realized through this system is that we cannot get justice, even when one of us is shot in the head in cold blood in front of dozens of witnesses,” Levy-Pounds said.
While community activists expressed their frustration, members of Clark’s family once again appeared grief-stricken.
Clark’s parents, siblings and close friends walked out of the FBI Building in Brooklyn Center, some of them in tears, shortly before the announcement was made public.
“The U.S. Attorney has the highest standard of proof in our system, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Clark family attorney Albert Goins. “I understand that. Does that make this any easier for us? No. It’s still very painful and there was a lot of emotion in that room.”
Goins says they were hopeful federal investigators would find some wrongdoing in the way the Minneapolis Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, who forced Clark to the ground.
“I think they should come in and look at Minneapolis, look at the training, look at the fact that it seems like the first choice of many Minneapolis police officers is to use force, not to de-escalate,” Goins said.
He says they are considering filing a civil lawsuit against the two officers.
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired, dealing with this stuff we’ve been dealing with for years,” said former St. Paul NAACP President Nathaniel Khaliq.
Members of the Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matters and Clergy United for Change are calling for support in their mission to improve the way police interact with people of color.
“We must pick up the ashes of the Civil Rights Movement and put phase two in full force and in effect,” Levy-Pounds said.
Their objectives are to vote elected officials out of office, get new people to run for office, work on economic disparities between blacks and whites and create jobs for minority youth.