Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman held a press conference this afternoon to announce his decision. After saying that Clark’s death is “not at all simliar to some of those seen around the country [in] Chicago, Cleveland and North Charleston,” StarTribune reports that Freeman then provided the following account of what happened after police were called to break up a domestic dispute between Clark and his girlfriend:
Officer Mark Ringgenberg put his gun back in the holster and grabbed Clark’s right wrist. Officer Dustin Schwarze grabbed Clark’s other arm and dropped the handcuffs while trying to cuff him. Ringgenberg then tried a takedown move and they both fell to the ground and Ringgenberg’s back was to Clark’s stomach. Ringgenberg felt his gun go from his hip to the small of his back. Ringgenberg reached back and felt Clark’s hand on his gun. He repeatedly told Schwarze: “He’s got my gun, he’s got my gun.”
Schwarze put his gun to edge of Clark’s mouth and said, “Let go or I’m going to shoot you.”
Schwarze said Clark looked at him and said, “I’m ready to die.”
Schwarze pulled the trigger once, but the slide caught. He pulled the trigger again and the gun went off, 61 seconds after the initial encounter began.
Freeman also disputed witness accounts that said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, saying that while Clark’s DNA was found on the gun, it was not on the handcuffs. “Clark simply could not have been handcuffed,” he said.
Watch Fox9’s full video of the press conference here. Freeman’s remarks begin at around 15 minutes, 40 seconds. Be advised that it contains clips of Clark’s shooting. Read his remarks and access his investigative report here.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after Freeman said that he will no longer use grand juries to determine if officers should be indicted when they kill civilians, citing concerns about transparency and accountability. In the last 16 years, 143 people have been killed by Minnesota police. StarTribune reports that not one of those officers has been charged.
Activists, who pushed officials to release all video shortly after the officers killed Clark, doubt the veracity of today’s account of events and have already planned an action for this evening.
The Minneapolis PD is known for lying. And the two officers are the only ones who corroborated this version of events. #Justice4Jamar— Black Lives MPLS (@BlackLivesMpls) March 30, 2016
It took Mike Freeman 30mins to tell that story– are we supposed to believe all of that happened in 61 secs?? #Justice4Jamar— Black Lives MPLS (@BlackLivesMpls) March 30, 2016
Others also took to Twitter in response to the decision:
Only in AmeriKKKa:— D (@Delo_Taylor) March 30, 2016
Commit a murder.
Find yourself not guilty.
Everybody’s cool with it.