The Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday morning he will not be charging the two officers in the November 15, 2015, fatal shooting of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis.
After a four-month investigation, Freeman cleared Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze in the controversial shooting of the 24-year-old unarmed man, which led to protests and a lengthy sit-in outside of the police precinct near where Clark was killed, his office said in a press release. Freeman had previously announced he would not be using a grand jury in the case.
In a press release, Freeman said the investigation found Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot, contrary to some witness reports. Police had been called because Clark, a suspect in a domestic violence incident, allegedly was interfering with paramedics’ efforts to treat the victim, Clark’s girlfriend.
Freeman also released unedited video footage recorded from cameras in two different ambulances. There was no body cam or dashboard camera footage available.
The unedited footage from the ambulance that responded to the domestic disturbance can be watched below:
You can watch the ambulance video shown at the press conference by Freeman below:
According to Freeman:
When Ringgenberg and Schwarze arrived, they ordered Clark to remove his hands from his pockets to make sure he did not have a gun. When he refused, the officers moved in and attempted to handcuff Clark. When he resisted, Ringgenberg took Clark to the ground and landed on top of him. However, Ringgenberg felt his gun move to the small of his back. When he reached for it, he felt Clark’s hand on the gun, an account that was supported by DNA evidence.
Schwarze threatened to shoot Clark if he did not release the gun. Clark refused to do so and Schwarze shot Clark in the head. Officer Schwarze’s actions were reasonable because if Clark successfully pulled the gun from the holster, Ringgenberg and Schwarze would have been shot and other bystanders might have been hit as well, Freeman said.
The officers had been placed on paid administrative leave. Their status with the department was not immediately clear on Wednesday.