The Latest: Minneapolis protest moves to police precinct

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2016 12:28 AM
The Latest: Minneapolis protest moves to police precinct

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the decision to not charge Minneapolis officers in the death of Jamar Clark (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Demonstrators protesting the decision not to charge two Minneapolis police officers in the killing of unarmed black man have made their way to a police precinct.

About 200 people stood outside the 4th precinct late Wednesday night. The atmosphere was mostly peaceful, but several protesters burned an American flag on the sidewalk.

Officers could be seen on the roof of the building, but police did not directly engage with protesters.

The precinct was the site of an 18-day encampment after the November shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Later Wednesday, the group marched to the site of the shooting. The size of the crowd dwindled as the night went on.

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7:25 p.m.

Hundreds of people have converged at the Hennepin County Government Center to protest the lack of charges against two Minneapolis officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man in November.

Some demonstrators initially gathered at the site of the Nov. 15 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark in north Minneapolis. Others gathered at a park on the southeast side of downtown.

The two groups marched through downtown and met at the government building, where earlier in the day a prosecutor announced that Officer Mark Ringgenberg and Officer Dustin Schwarze would not face criminal charges. Both officers are white.

The demonstrators have been chanting as they marched and carrying signs that say "Justice for Jamar" and "Black Lives Matter."

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the officers used necessary deadly force in a situation where they feared for their lives.

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7:05 p.m.

The prosecutor who cleared two Minneapolis police officers in the death of a black man says community activists criticizing his decision are "speaking out of frustration."

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that the officers feared for their lives and used necessary deadly force in the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark. Some activists at Freeman's news conference shouted at the prosecutor, saying he leaned too heavily on the official version of events and discounted bystander accounts.

Freeman told KSTP-TV it's easy to think officers are lying about what happened. But he says their story is backed up by "hardcore forensic evidence." Freeman said Clark's DNA on the butt of one officer's gun and all over his utility belt supports the police account of a struggle and Clark getting his hand on an officer's weapon.

Freeman also rejected one activist's statement that he can forget about re-election. Freeman says he'll run again and win.

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6:45 p.m.

The adoptive parents of a black man shot by Minneapolis police in November say they are in disbelief after a prosecutor announced the officers would not be charged.

James and Wilma Clark talked with KSTP-TV. James Clark said officers showed no remorse for the Nov. 15 shooting of his son, 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

James Clark also said that video released of the incident does not show his son resisting arrest. The video does not show the shooting in its entirety.

Wilma Clark said she doesn't believe her son told officers, "I'm ready to die," as Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. Freeman said Jamar Clark refused to let go of an officer's weapon and spoke those words before he was shot.

One of Jamar Clark's cousins, Cameron Clark, was angry at the news conference. He left saying: "Mike Freeman, you've got blood on your hands."

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6:20 p.m.

Protesters in Minneapolis are marching from the site where a black man was shot by police toward downtown.

The demonstrators were marching down a major street, chanting things like, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" and, "No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police."

They had gathered earlier at the site where officers shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Some people laid flowers at the site and put signs near a tree.

Several protesters denounced a prosecutor's decision not to charge the two officers involved Clark's shooting.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the officers used necessary deadly force in a situation where they feared for their lives.

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6:10 p.m.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says the Jamar Clark case is a reminder that the state needs to take a hard look at its criminal justice system.

The 24-year-old Clark, who was black, died in a confrontation with two white Minneapolis police officers last November. The officers were cleared Wednesday by a prosecutor who said they used necessary deadly force in a situation where they feared for their lives.

Dayton didn't comment on the finding and he praised Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for making the charging decision himself rather than relying on the closed process of a grand jury.

The Democratic governor has several proposals at the state Legislature to address racial disparities, and he urged lawmakers to pass them.

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3:40 p.m.

Several dozen people have gathered in north Minneapolis near the spot where a black man was shot in a confrontation with police last November.

The gathering came hours after a prosecutor declined to charge two police officers in the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark. The prosecutor said the officers were justifiably in fear for their lives as Clark tried to get hold of an officer's gun.

Mihesha Gibbs, a 27-year-old administrative assistant from south Minneapolis, said incidents like Clark's shooting are becoming so common that they're no longer shocking.

Clark died a day after he was shot. It sparked waves of protests and an 18-day encampment outside the police precinct near where he died.

More protests were expected later Wednesday. Gibbs says she doesn't condone violence but says that police can't "back someone into a corner and expect them not to have sort of reaction."

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3:30 p.m.

The head of the union that represents Minneapolis police officers says the public should accept the results of an investigation that he says "exonerated" two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man.

Lt. Bob Kroll told reporters that Officer Mark Ringgenberg and Officer Dustin Schwarze (schwart-ZEE') are relieved they were not charged in the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, but they still face internal and federal investigations.

Kroll said the two officers did what they had to do when they confronted and shot Clark on Nov. 15. Clark died a day later.

Kroll also appealed for calm from the community, saying "hostility" was not going to get anywhere. He said officers will protect the public's right to protest peacefully and lawfully, but he says rioting is a felony.

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2:20 p.m.

The Minneapolis police chief is promising her officers will show restraint in the face of expected protests over two officers being cleared in the November death of a black man.

Chief Janee (juh-NAY') Harteau made her comments after a prosecutor announced the officers, who are both white, feared for their lives in a confrontation with 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Harteau was sharply criticized last week for putting out a video that said violence wouldn't be tolerated after the prosecutor's decision. Clark's death last November sparked multiple protests and an 18-day encampment outside a north Minneapolis police precinct.

Harteau says public safety is her top priority and police will ensure it for everyone — including protesters, bystanders and police.

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2 p.m.

An attorney for one of Minneapolis officers involved in the November fatal shooting of a black man says a prosecutor made the right decision in deciding not to charge the officers.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday that he would not charge Officer Mark Ringgenberg and Officer Dustin Schwarze (schwart-ZEE') in the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Freeman says the evidence shows Clark wasn't handcuffed and had his hands on Ringgenberg's gun when he was shot by Schwarze.

Robert Sicoli is Ringgenberg's attorney. He says Freeman's decision is the only one that was justified by the evidence. He says the officers didn't want to shoot Clark, but didn't have any other choice and that there's no question that Rignnenberg was in fear of his life and the lives of others.

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1:40 p.m.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is praising the county prosecutor's "transparency" in announcing his decision not to charge two city police officers in the death last November of a black man.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that the officers were afraid for their lives and that 24-year-old Jamar Clark was trying to get control of one of their guns when Clark was shot.

In a prepared statement, Hodges praised Freeman for what she called a thorough explanation of his decision and for posting evidence in the case.

Some community activists rejected Freeman's decision, saying it relied too heavily on authorities' accounts. Hodges says she supports people's right to demonstrate peacefully.

Police Chief Janee (juh-NAY') Harteau also said officers would support peaceful protests. She was criticized last week for releasing a video that said violence wouldn't be tolerated after Freeman's decision.

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12:50 a.m.

Some community activists in Minneapolis say they don't accept a prosecutor's decision not to charge two police officers in the death of a 24-year-old black man.

Jamar Clark's death in November provoked waves of protests and an 18-day encampment outside a north Minneapolis police precinct. Some people said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot by officers called to an assault in which he was a suspect.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that evidence showed Clark was not handcuffed and was trying to get control of an officer's gun when he was shot.

Mica (MEE'-sha) Grimm, a leader of the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter chapter, called Freeman's summary of the case "fake." She says if activists can't find justice at the courthouse, they'll "find it in the streets."

Mel Reeves, of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, called Freeman's summary "a fairy tale."

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11:38 a.m.

A Minneapolis prosecutor who cleared two officers in the shooting of a 24-year-old black man is facing tough questioning from citizens at his news conference.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Wednesday that he would not charge the officers because they were in fear for their lives as 24-year-old Jamar Clark tried to get control of one of their guns.

Clark's death last November set off waves of protests, and some bystanders said he was handcuffed when he was shot. Freeman said forensic evidence said otherwise.

An unidentified woman told Freeman he didn't give a "clear and accurate portrayal" of what happened during his hour-long presentation of evidence in the case, which included videos. She called his account "propaganda" and said it didn't include enough from citizen witnesses.

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11:30 a.m.

A Minneapolis prosecutor's graphic description of the police shooting of a 24-year-old black man has brought some relatives of the victim to tears.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman spent more than an hour laying out evidence in the death of Jamar Clark last November. Clark died in a confrontation with two officers who had been called to an assault in which Clark was a suspect.

Two women who said they were Clark's sisters sat in the front row at a news conference as Freeman described the shooting itself. They clutched each other's arms as they listened and softly shook their heads, and when the video evidence was shown, they covered their eyes and cried.

Freeman cleared the officers, saying they were in fear for their lives as Clark was trying to gain control of one officer's gun.

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11:25 a.m.

A Minneapolis prosecutor says he relied heavily on forensic evidence to determine that a 24-year-old man was not handcuffed when he was shot by police in November.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Wednesday cleared two officers in the death of Jamar Clark. Some bystanders said that Clark, a black man, was handcuffed when he was shot and his death set off weeks of protests.

Freeman said that 10 paramedic or law enforcement witnesses testified that Clark wasn't handcuffed.

The two officers testified they were unable to handcuff him, and Freeman says the witnesses who said Clark was handcuffed gave differing accounts.

Freeman says physical exams found no evidence of bruising on Clark's wrists consistent with being handcuffed. He also said traces of Clark's DNA found on the grip of one officer's gun supported the contention that he was not handcuffed.

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11:10 a.m.

Two Minneapolis police officers will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a black man last November.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced his decision not to charge Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze (schwart-ZEE') in the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Wednesday. Ringgenberg is white; Schwarze's race has not been released.

Clark was shot by police Nov. 15 during what authorities called a struggle. But some people who say they saw the shooting have said Clark wasn't struggling and was handcuffed. Clark died a day later.

Clark's shooting prompted protests in Minneapolis, including an 18-day encampment outside a north side police precinct.

Earlier this month, Freeman announced he wouldn't call a grand jury to decide whether the officers should be charged. Public skepticism over grand juries, whose work is secret, grew after officers in three high-profile shootings of blacks weren't indicted recently.

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10:45 a.m.

A Minneapolis prosecutor says the death of a 24-year-old black man in a confrontation with police in November is not like other police shootings around the country.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said during his news conference about whether two officers should be charged in the death of Jamar Clark. Clark died in what authorities said was a struggle with officers who were responding to a reported assault in which Clark was a suspect.

Freeman says that makes it different than other shootings in which officers might have chosen to use reduced force or chosen to withdraw from a situation. Freeman says the officers in the Minneapolis case didn't have that option.

Freeman was laying out evidence in the case ahead of announcing his decision.

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9:30 a.m.

Activists in Minneapolis are planning demonstrations to react to an anticipated decision on whether a Minnesota prosecutor will file charges against two officers involved in November's fatal shooting of a black man.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will announce Wednesday morning whether he'll file charges in the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, who was shot by police on Nov. 15 during what authorities called a struggle. Some witnesses said Clark wasn't struggling and was handcuffed. He died a day later.

Protesters are demanding charges against Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

The Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar will rally at 5 p.m. near the site of Clark's shooting on the north side of Minneapolis. The Black Liberation Project and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis are holding a rally at 6 p.m. in Minneapolis' Elliot Park, on the southeast side of downtown.

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8:15 a.m.

A Minneapolis prosecutor is set to announce whether two police officers will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black man last November.

Spokesman Chuck Laszewski says Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman plans to announce his decision in the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Clark was shot Nov. 15 during what authorities called a struggle with Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. But some people who say they saw the shooting have said Clark wasn't struggling and was handcuffed. He died a day later.

Clark's shooting prompted protests in Minneapolis, including an 18-day encampment outside a north side police precinct.

Freeman first planned to use a grand jury to decide on charges, but earlier this month announced he would make the decision himself.