MPD: Officers Involved In Jamar Clark Shooting Will Not Face Disciplinary Action
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis officials announced Thursday that the two officers involved in Jamar Clark's shooting death will not face any disciplinary action.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janée Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges announced the findings of the Internal Affairs investigation at a press conference Friday. Harteau said she met with Clark's family earlier in the day.
Harteau said the investigation determined the incident did not violate any MPD policy and the officers will not be criminally charged.
Clark was shot by police during an incident in north Minneapolis on Nov. 15, 2015. He was taken off life support two days later and died.
Police say Clark tried to take an officer's gun in a struggle during a domestic abuse call, but several witnesses claimed Clark was handcuffed when he was shot in the head by one of the officers involved – Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.
"After an extensive review of this entire incident, I have concluded that these officers did not dictate the outcome of this incident," Harteau said in a prepared statement at the press conference. "This was an outcome that no one wanted."
In particular, Harteau defended Officer Ringgenberg's use of a "takedown maneuver" captured by a camera mounted in the back of an ambulance. The Hennepin County Attorney's office released the video last March, after deciding not to file charges in the incident.
Video of the takedown maneuver Harteau referenced in the press conference.
"I have determined the takedown maneuver used by Officer Ringgenberg was not a 'choke hold,' as described by others," Harteau said. "Internal Affairs investigators found the officer grabbed the suspect by his upper chest. While this may not be a specific technique that the MPD instructs, that does not mean it was unauthorized."
In a statement she read after Harteau, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed support for the MPD's findings.
"I fully support the chief's determination in this case, that Officers Schwarze and Ringgenberg did not violate city policies," she said. "I trust the thorough process that the department followed, and I trust Chief Harteau's judgment."
Watch: Full Statements From Chief Harteau And Mayor Hodges
On her Facebook page, Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds said that this "is too much," but at the same time, she's not surprised.
The group also released a statement saying, in part, "The official statement that no policies were violated strains credulity past the breaking point and raises more questions than answers." Read the full statement here.
Attorney Bob Sicoli, who represents Ringgenberg, says the officer is happy to put all this behind him, that it's been a long process and that he's looking forward to being back on patrol.
"It's been devastating for them," Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll said. "It's had a tremendous effect on them, their families, and actually, their coworkers."
The attorney for Jamar Clark's family is still planning to file a civil lawsuit in the coming weeks.
The shooting sparked a nearly 20-day protest outside of Minneapolis Police's 4th Precinct building, led by the group Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.
In mid-March, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that his office – and not a grand jury – would decide if Officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze will face criminal charges for Clark's death.
On March 30, he announced that his office will not file criminal charges against the officers, saying Clark's DNA was found on the Ringgenberg's gun grip, and there was no bruising on his wrists — which both backs the officers' stories that he was not handcuffed and he had reached for one of their weapons.
Click here to read Chief Harteau's full statement, and to read the MPD's full account of the Internal Affairs investigation.
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