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Chief Harteau Issues Warning Ahead Of Jamar Clark Ruling

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis' police chief warns that violence and vandalism will not be tolerated when a decision is reached in the Jamar Clark case.

The Hennepin County Attorney could decide next week whether two Minneapolis police officers will face charges in the 24-year-old's death.

Some witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when police shot him last fall, which the department disputes.

The police union said Clark reached for an officer's gun during a struggle.

The shooting sparked weeks of protest in the streets outside the police headquarters in north Minneapolis.

"It is also our responsibility to do everything in our power to keep people safe," Chief Janeé Harteau.

A Message from the Chief: Balancing Public Safety & 1st Amendment Rights by MinneapolisPolice on YouTube


She released a video on the Minneapolis Police Facebook page on Thursday. The video is just over a minute long, but the message is clear.

Whatever the decision might be, Harteau wants to avoid a repeat of last November, when protesters occupied the 4th Precinct for 18 days -- at times both police and demonstrators were put in harm's way.

"The MPD has to, and will, strike a balance between First Amendment rights with the safety of everyone" Harteau said.

She said Thursday that the video was intended for the entire Minneapolis community, and, "not any groups or individuals."

But Pastor Danny Givens, a clergy liaison for Black Lives Matter, does not see it that way.

"I'm disheartened by it. I'm just disheartened by it," Givens said.

He says the video casts a negative light on last November's occupation, and he says it fails to show the peaceful aspects of the protest.

"They showed, you know, the people throwing whatever it was over the wall. They didn't show us as organizers and the rest of those who were out there going and talking to the community members and saying, 'Hey, that's not what we're here for,'" Givens said.

He says Black Lives Matter still wants any video of the shooting released for Jamar Clark's family, and he believes the officers should be charged with a crime.

"If justice isn't served, I can't necessarily say what exactly is going to happen," he said.

With that being said, Pastor Givens told WCCO if there are protests, he is hoping they will be peaceful.

The "Justice for Jamar Coalition" will be holding a rally at noon on Saturday at the Hennepin County Government Center, demanding that Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwartze be prosecuted for Clark's death.

Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation also responded to Harteau's video.

"Basically the city has given in to all their demands. They got an outside investigation from the BCA. They got oversight from the Department of Justice. They wanted to do away with the grand jury and they've gotten that. So putting them on notice is a good thing," Kroll said.

A decision from the Hennepin County attorney is expected by the end of the month.

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