Reaction to Results of Jamar Clark Shooting Internal Affairs Investigation

October 21, 2016 11:33 PM

Several groups are reacting to the Minneapolis Police Department's internal affairs investigation into the Nov. 2015 shooting death of Jamar Clark.  On Friday, Police Chief Janee Harteau announced the officers involved did not violate any department policies. 

RELATED CONTENT: RAW VIDEO: Harteau, Hodges Stand by Officers in Jamar Clark Shooting


Here are some of the responses: 

Minneapolis NAACP Denounces MPD Decision of No Discipline for Officers who Killed Jamar Clark

Today MPD Chief Janee Harteau announced that there will be no discipline for Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, who shot the unarmed Jamar Clark in the head on November 15, 2015, contending that the officers violated no policies. The official statement that no policies were violated strains credulity past the breaking point and raises more questions than answers.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, President of the Minneapolis NAACP, states “The decision by MPD to not discipline the two officers who killed Jamar Clark constitutes ‘business as usual.’ The brutal way he was taken down alone makes it impossible to believe that not a single policy was violated by the officers. MPD’s decision continues to signal to our community that police officers are able to kill with impunity.”

Based upon our understanding of the facts, we continue to raise concerns about whether significant policy violations occurred that led to the death of Jamar Clark. Just a few examples:

It appears that Officer Ringgenberg used excessive force in using a violent takedown maneuver against Clark when he was not resisting. Further, Ringgenberg and Schwarze repeatedly failed to record their encounter with Clark despite policy requiring this and ample opportunity to do so. It is not in dispute that they failed to activate their emergency lights (which triggers video and audio recording) in responding to a code 3 call, nor that they failed to wear or activate body microphones as required, nor that they failed to manually activate recording as required when talking with someone involved in a suspected domestic abuse incident, nor that they failed to activate recording after the shooting which could have recovered footage of the shooting.

Jason Sole, Chair of the Minneapolis NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee said, “The failure to hold these two officers accountable for violating policy and using excessive force contributes to African Americans’ distrust of the justice system. Had those officers treated Jamar Clark with respect and dignity upon their encounter with him, he might still be alive. Instead, he was assaulted by police and 61 seconds later his life came to an end.”

Finally, in choosing to release the announcement late in the day on a Friday and take no questions from media, Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges demonstrate a lack of transparency and accountability in their decision-making.

Our condolences go out to the family of Jamar Clark and members of the community who are not only dealing with the loss of their loved one, but also grappling with yet another part of the system failing to deliver justice for Jamar.

Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis 

The following is a statement from Lt. Bob Kroll, President, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, in response to Minneapolis Police Chief Harteau’s press conference regarding the reinstatement of Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

“The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis applauds the findings of the MPD Internal Affairs investigation and is please that Officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze can begin to put this unfortunate event behind them and focus on their careers.

As we have maintained from the start, our officers followed procedure and training protocols, acting within the law, while responding to a dangerous and unfortunate situation that has affected so many lives, including Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

Members of the public demanded an independent investigation conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, demanded oversight be provided by the United States Department of Justice, and demanded that the Grand Jury process not be used. After meeting all the demands of the public and the conclusion of Internal Affairs Division investigation, Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze have been exonerated for the third time.

As these officers return to work, we expect all members of the public to accept the process and outcome.”

Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar 

It was James Clark who said at one of our #FreemanFridays "we may not get Justice4Jamar but let us focus on #JusticeThruJamar" our hearts go out to both sides of Jamar's family and all those who loved him. Although some of us never met him, we will be forever changed. #ItAintRight and we will continue to fight! Remember #ACAB #F12 We will see you in the streets!

The following statement can be attributed to Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota

“We are deeply troubled that Officers Riggenberg and Schwarze will not be held accountable for their actions that led to the killing of Jamar Clark. There were many reports that the officers needlessly escalated the situation and used an unsanctioned method to tackle Jamar Clark.  That should be enough to warrant discipline. This was the final opportunity for the officers to be held accountable for their actions. This sends a chilling message to all Minneapolis Police officers that the next time they confront a similar situation they should take another life.  We are distraught that the Department does not place greater value on Jamar Clark’s life and the life of every person its officers encounter.  Officers need to start being held accountable for their actions that have led to the deaths of the hundreds of people in Minnesota alone. The system needs to be changed so we can begin to repair the wrongs that have been done to our communities of color and others who have been unnecessarily wronged by our criminal justice system.”



Brent Palm

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