Feds say no civil rights prosecution in Jamar Clark’s death
Activists resigned but angry at second exoneration of Mpls. officers
By Libor Jany and Paul Walsh
June 1, 2016 — 10:53pm
Federal authorities said Wednesday that they would not pursue civil rights charges against two Minneapolis police officers in the shooting death of Jamar Clark, a decision met with both outrage and resignation by activists who for months have demanded prosecution. …
Critics responded almost immediately to the decision with anger, insisting the case was the latest example of the callousness of the criminal justice system toward blacks. Both officers are white, while Clark was black.
“We are in a land of disparities and a land in which we are treated like second-class citizens,” she said. “No matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we pound the pavement, no matter how much we lift our voices, they don’t want to give us justice.”
Clark’s family members … were in tears Wednesday as they left the FBI building. They declined to comment. …
The shooting of Clark, 24, outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex in the early morning of Nov. 15 turned the city last fall into the latest flash point in a continuing national debate over police treatment of people of color and the use of excessive force. The weeks of protests that followed, including the 18-day occupation outside a police station several blocks from where Clark was shot, garnered international headlines and threatened to set back relations between police and communities of color where distrust of law enforcement runs deep.
… But legal hurdles remain for the officers, who were cleared earlier this year of criminal wrongdoing in the shooting. Their actions on that night are still being scrutinized by the Internal Affairs unit to determine whether they violated any departmental policies.
Al Goins, a Minneapolis lawyer who represents several of Clark’s siblings, said that Clark’s relatives are planning to sue the officers. Before that happens, he said, a trustee must be appointed to handle his estate — a process that could take three to four months.
Critics have for months argued that officer Mark Ringgenberg needlessly escalated what had been a routine encounter by violently taking Clark to the ground, saying that it underscores the need for better training for officers on how to de-escalate potentially violent encounters without resorting to force.
Hundreds turned out for a demonstration and a separate vigil on Sunday to express their outrage over the police murder of 31-year-old Thurman Blevins Jr. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blevins was shot down by police in an alleyway in a hail of bullets Saturday evening, sparking spontaneous protests in the North Minneapolis neighborhood where the shooting took place: here.