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Hennepin County Attorney Defends Decision On Jamar Clark

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A day after the announcement that no charges would be filed against two officers in the shooting death of Jamar Clark, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is defending his decision.

"If you want to be accountable, I'm accountable," he said. "I am now comfortable with that decision, and I'm frankly relieved that it's out."

It was an interaction that took just over a minute from start to finish, but one that will leave lasting effects on the city.

"I'm upset that he's dead in 61 seconds," Freeman said. "That's too fast, when there [are] other uses of force that could be done and other comments that could have been made."

Freeman said he wishes the events of that night had played out differently.

"Clark resisted their requests and the arrest from the moment they approached. I wish he hadn't," Freeman said. "Even if he had had his hand on the gun and he let go at the point and said, 'OK, here are my hands,' he'd be alive today."

Freeman said for him, the case all came down to the evidence.

"The DNA on the gun, and the belt, and the holster reflect he had his hands on that gun, no question," Freeman said. "DNA is a truth serum."

Jamar Clark supporters spoke out after Wednesday's decision. Some said they don't buy Freeman's version of the story, and others said he's not listening to the community and what they saw that night.

"In your narrative, you didn't talk about the fact that he was violently slammed from behind by a police officer," Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds told Freeman at the press conference Wednesday morning. "That was shocking for me to see -- in a choke hold -- after you led everyone to believe that Jamar Clark was the aggressor."

Freeman says he understands that people are angry and frustrated right now, but he hopes Levy-Pounds will take the time to look at all the evidence.

"She's a lawyer. I think Lawyers have an obligation to people to read the evidence carefully with a critical eye," Freeman said. "I really hope she does that, and I'm not as certain she will be as critical when she does."

All the evidence Freeman used to make his decision is available on the Hennepin County Attorney's website.

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