Decision on charges in Minneapolis police killing expected this week

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2016 10:42 AM

(Reuters) - A decision on whether to charge two Minneapolis police officers in the shooting death of a 24-year-old black man last November is expected this week, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said on Monday.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in February that he hoped to decide by the end of March whether there was sufficient evidence to charge Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, the officers involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark.

Chuck Laszewski, a spokesman for Freeman, said that timeline has not changed.

Freeman said earlier this month that he would not empanel a grand jury to look at the case, and that he himself would make the determination whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the officers.

The shooting of Clark came at a time of fierce national debate over the use of lethal force by police, especially against black men. Minneapolis was among a number of U.S. cities that have seen protests over police killings.

Police said they had responded to a report of an assault in north Minneapolis shortly after midnight on Nov. 15, and said Clark was shot during a struggle after he confronted paramedics and disrupted their ability to give aid to another person. He died the next day at the hospital.

Some witnesses said Clark was handcuffed or restrained on the ground when he was shot, while authorities have said there was a scuffle and Clark was trying to get a police officer's gun.

Protesters had demanded that a special prosecutor handle the decision on whether to charge the officers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing how the city of Minneapolis responded to the protests after the shooting.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Fiona Ortiz)