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Police Union: Jamar Clark Reached For Officer's Gun Before Shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Union officials with Minneapolis police say an investigation shows Jamar Clark was reaching for an officer's gun when he was shot early Sunday morning in north Minneapolis.

The police union also says Clark was not handcuffed when the shooting took place and handcuffs were never on. Clark was shot during a struggle with officers who were responding to a call of a woman being assaulted. Clark allegedly was preventing emergency responders from providing medical care when the struggle ensued. The police union also says Clark has a violent criminal history.

The police union said Clark reached for an officer's gun, and that officer's partner shot Clark.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified Wednesday the two officers involved in Clark's shooting as Mark Ringgenberg, 30, and Dustin Schwarze, 28. Both have been officers for seven years, and have both been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 13 months. Both also have clean records, free of any disciplinary actions.

Ringgenberg has previously worked as in officer in Maple Grove, Osseo and San Diego, California. He went to college at St. Mary's University in Winona, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice.

Schwarze was an officer for Richfield Police before coming to MPD, and he was also a community service officer with Brooklyn Park Police. A 2005 graduate of Plymouth's Armstrong High School, Schwarze has a degree in law enforcement from Hennepin Technical College.

Both are now on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in situations of this kind.

Twenty-four-year-old Clark was shot early Sunday. The BCA says officers did not have dashcam or body camera video to help with the investigation, but state investigators say they do have video from witnesses, which they won't release until after the investigation.

The BCA says so far none of the video investigators have looked at shows the entire incident.

Clark wasn't armed, but witnesses and police disagree on whether he was in handcuffs. Clark was taken off life support Monday night and authorities confirmed Tuesday he had died.

The Hennepin County Medical Center determined Tuesday that he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said in a written a statement Wednesday afternoon that he supports an independent investigation of Clark's death.

"I join members of the North Side community in expressing sadness and frustration about the loss of Jamar Clark, and my heart goes out to his family," Franken said. "A full and thorough accounting of the facts is a necessary step so that we can get to the bottom of what happened. In the meantime, it is incumbent upon all of us, but most especially policymakers and elected officials, to recognize that real inequality persists and to work to dismantle it."

Protesters held a night of unity outside the police precinct on Plymouth Avenue, and it was a peaceful demonstration.

The protesters say they will stay at the police station until they have the officers' names and see the video. The BCA says the investigation could take from two to four months, but one of the protesters told WCCO they could hold out that long.

The protesters did not make their way towards Interstate 94 as they did the night before, but a number of squads parked near the interstate Tuesday night.

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