Minneapolis agrees to $200K settlement with family of Jamar Clark, pending approval

Updated: August 08, 2019 10:36 PM

An attorney for the family of Jamar Clark has confirmed the City of Minneapolis has agreed to pay a $200,000 settlement to the family for his death. The settlement is pending approval from the Minneapolis City Council.

It is a larger amount than the five-figure offer city leaders rejected in May.

The family’s lawyer David Suro said, “Are they happy with the settlement? I don’t think it was in the city’s ability to make them happy.”

He added, “[Clark's family] realized their goals are probably better achieved outside of a lawsuit”.

Suro told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that his family still plans to work with the city to improve police training and open a community center in Jamar’s name. They also want to see one of the officers involved, Mark Ringgenberg, removed from the force.

According to Suro, Clark's sister said, “It wasn’t about money, it’s not going to bring Jamar back.”

More from KSTP:

Settlement talks break down in Jamar Clark civil case

Jamar Clark advocates call for $20 million settlement in his death

According to officials, Clark was shot in the head during a struggle with Officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg in November 2015.

The county attorney did not charge the officers, saying the investigation found Clark was shot after trying to get an officer's gun.

In a lawsuit, filed in 2017, his family claims Clark was unarmed and out-numbered. They accuse the officers of violating his civil rights “to be free from excessive force and unreasonable seizure”.

Clark’s family eventually dropped Officer Schwarze, who fired his weapon, from the lawsuit.

“It’s been a long battle,” said Sam Sanchez, an organizer for Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. “Luckily there is something and that little something is never going to bring Jamar back.”

Sanchez said he talked with Clark’s family after the tentative agreement was reached.

“They’re still upset and grieving and they are still questioning where is the justice,” said Sanchez.

Advocates for Clark earlier this year demanded the city pay his family $20 million, the same amount awarded in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Minneapolis city leaders agreed to mediation to resolve the lawsuit in May, but talks later broke down.

“It sends a message of unequal justice within the City of Minneapolis and the differences in how we treat black people versus white people,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney. “While I’m glad that a settlement was reached and I'm glad that the family may be able to have some semblance of justice and some closure, it doesn't erase the fact that the settlement is inequitable in comparison to what Jamar deserved.”

City Attorney Susan Segal is not commenting on the settlement until it is approved by the City Council.

“I am very frustrated, disappointed and disgusted by our elected officials in how they handled these two situations," said Levy Armstrong.

Suro said Clark’s family wants the contrast between the two settlements to stand out.

Several groups plan to attend next Thursday’s city council meeting to demand Officers Schwarze and Ringgenberg be fired.

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KSTP & Callan Gray

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