MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Before the death of Philando Castile it was another black man shot a dozen miles away making headlines eight months ago.
Documents obtained by WCCO show nine people spent four months, working more than 1,300 hours and costing taxpayers $77,470 to consider charges in the Jamar Clark case.
“I’ve spent about 200 hours myself, which is the most time I’ve spent on any one single case since I went to the United States Supreme Court in 1993,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “Any case in which we have made the decision not to charge, this is the longest and the most time we’ve ever spent,” he added.
Freeman says the forensic evidence proved Clark was never handcuffed when Minneapolis police shot him during a struggle and that Clark’s DNA was found on an officers’ gun.
“We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a reasonable police officer wouldn’t use the same force faced with the same situation,” Freeman said.
A WCCO Investigation found, in nearly 40 cases, no Minnesota officers were charged in deadly encounters over five years.
“It may not be the decision some people wanted, but it was what the facts show,” he said.
Freeman says he was provided personal security leading up to and after his decision hearing from people outraged, all across the country.
Still, on any given Friday, a dozen protesters can usually be found outside his office. Recently, Freeman says he’s been in contact with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, as he will soon decide what to do in the death of Castile.
While Freeman wants to keep those conversations private, he did share the advice he’s given Choi.
“I’ve told him to be as thorough and as comfortable with his decision, and ask the advice of smart people; and make his mind up, and we’ll all back him up,” Freeman said.
He also said his office will soon undergo implicit-bias training. That’s to combat unconscious stereotypes employees may hold against certain people.