Police Union Head: Jamar Clark was Disarming Officer

November 15, 2017 10:24 AM

The Minneapolis police officers who shot and killed a man accused of interfering with paramedics' efforts to treat an assault victim have been identified as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

The Minneapolis Police Department says both men have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the MPD. The men's races weren't released.

Maple Grove police Capt. Adam Lindquist says he sometimes supervised Ringgenberg when Ringgenberg was on the force from 2012 to 2014. Lindquist says Ringgenberg was a top DWI enforcer and got an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2013.

Both officers have been interviewed by officials with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. They offered their version of events on Tuesday night, recounting what they say happened in the moments before 24-year-old Jamar Clark of Minneapolis was shot.

Court records show that Ringgenberg and another San Diego officer were accused of excessive force in 2012. A New Jersey man said Ringgenberg had grabbed him from behind and held him a chokehold. The man's federal civil rights lawsuit was settled.

On Tuesday night, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Vanita Gupta and Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI Richard T. Thornton issued a joint statement, announcing the opening of a federal civil rights investigation, at the request of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

Read the statement Hodges issued regarding requests for external investigations here.

That investigation will be conducted by the FBI and will continue alongside a separate investigation already being conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota and prosecutors with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division will independently review all evidence to determine if Mr. Clark's death involved any prosecutable violations of federal criminal civil rights statutes. We ask for cooperation from any witnesses who believe they have information about the shooting and we urge calm throughout our community while investigators seek to determine the facts," the statement read.

A key point at the center of the investigation is whether Clark was in handcuffs when he was shot.

On Wednesday, Union president Lt. Bob Kroll said Schwarze and Ringgenberg told the BCA that Clark was not handcuffed before or after he was shot, and that Clark had tried to disarm one of the officers.

Kroll also said the officers told the BCA that they were originally called to the scene because Clark had been pounding on the back door of an ambulance, with a female victim of domestic violence inside. Police have previously said Clark was a suspect in that incident.

According to Kroll, the officers said they ordered Clark to stop, or risk arrest. When he refused to comply, the officers began to arrest him -- but Clark then began to struggle with one of the officers. The officers said it was at that time that Clark tried to disarm one of the officers. Soon thereafter, one of the officers opened fire, wounding Clark in the head.

Witnesses at the scene on Sunday morning claimed Clark was already in handcuffs when an officer opened fire. The union lawyer has called those claims "nonsense," and has stated that he expects both officers to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday afternoon, at a news conference, the BCA said handcuffs were found at the scene of the shooting, but that investigators are still working to determine whether or not they were on Clark when he was shot.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.


Stephen Tellier

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