IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

No Discipline for Cops in Killing of Minneapolis Man Jamar Clark

Police said an internal investigation found the officers were warranted in using deadly force in the death of the 24-year-old black man last year.
Image: Jamar Clark
Activists have demanded an independent investigation after a black man, Jamar Clark, was shot during an altercation with a police officer in Minneapolis.Kenya McKnight

MINNEAPOLIS — Two Minneapolis police officers followed proper procedure in a confrontation that led to the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark in November, and won't face discipline, the city's police chief announced.

Chief Janee Harteau said Friday that an internal investigation found the officers were warranted in using deadly force in the death of the 24-year-old black man.

Clark was shot in the head on Nov. 15 in a confrontation with Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze on the city's north side. His death set off protests that lasted several weeks, including an 18-day encampment around the area's police precinct.

A local prosecutor and the U.S. attorney both declined earlier to charge the officers — both white — in Clark's death, citing conflicting testimony from witnesses.

A police officer tells a women to back up as she photographs him in front of a north Minneapolis police precinct during a protest in response of Sunday's shooting death of Jamar Clark by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 18, 2015. State officials on Wednesday identified the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man that has sparked protests and dozens of arrests. REUTERS/Craig LassigCRAIG LASSIG / Reuters

"These officers did not dictate the outcome of this incident," Harteau said. "I can say with absolute certainty that I support the actions of Officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze the night of Nov. 15."

Some witnesses told police that Clark was handcuffed at the time.

But an investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found that the officers had tried and failed to handcuff Clark, and he was shot in the ensuing confrontation after one of the officers shouted that Clark had his hand on the officer's gun.

Investigators said Ringgenberg wrestled Clark to the ground but wound up on his back atop Clark and felt Clark's hand on his weapon. Schwarze then shot Clark in an encounter that lasted barely a minute.

An attorney for Clark's family said they were anguished and frustrated by the decision.

Hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators and supporters occupy the street in front of the federal building, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Minneapolis, after marching from the Police Department's Fourth Precinct. The fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, a black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, has pushed racial tensions in the city's small but concentrated minority community to the fore. Jim Mone / AP, file

"To say they couldn't find any policy violation verges on the absurd," said Albert Goins, who represents Clark's sister Tiffany Roberson. He said the family will file a civil lawsuit, but wouldn't say when.

Bob Kroll, the head of the police union, said it was about time the officers were cleared. He noted they have been through nearly a year of investigations and relegated to desk duty.

"It's been devastating for them," he said, adding that he expected them to return to patrols.