The two Minneapolis police officers involved in the controversial death of a black man last November will not be facing any charges for the fatal shooting, a Minnesota prosecutor announced Wednesday.
The trouble began when the officers responded to the scene where paramedics were attempting to treat an assault victim as the suspect stood by, according to the Associated Press. When the suspect, Jamar Clark, 24, who was also the victim's boyfriend, allegedly interfered with the paramedics' attempts to treat her and refused to take his hands out of his pockets and show them in plain sight, a scuffle with the officers ensued.
No charges for Minneapolis officers in #JamarClark death, prosecutor says https://t.co/GSkS0ECNOm https://t.co/Geu3cU4mEA— CNN (@CNN)1459355160.0
The officers alleged that Clark's hands were not handcuffed during the scuffle and that Clark was attempting to gain control of Officer Mark Ringgenberg's weapon. After Riggenberg shouted, "He's got my gun," Officer Dustin Schwarze shot Clark near the front of his head because he believed that the officers were in danger, according to CNN. Clark died in a hospital the following day.
Some civilian witnesses claimed that Clark was handcuffed at the time of the shooting, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman stated during his Wednesday presentation that 20 witnesses gave different accounts that did not match up with one another or with the forensic evidence, according to the AP.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announces Wednesday that no charges will be filed against two Minneapolis police officers in the fatal shooting of a black man, Jamar Clark, last November, in Minneapolis. Community activists in Minneapolis say they don'�t accept the prosecutor�'s decision. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
"This case is not at all similar to some of those seen around the country," Freeman said, referring to other shootings involving white officers and black victims, according to the AP. "These officers were called upon to respond to a person who had assaulted his girlfriend and interfered with paramedics who were trying to assist her."
Predicting upcoming and widespread protests in association with Clark's shooting, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau released a March 24 statement in which she warned activists and protesters that violence would not be tolerated, according to CNN.
Freeman's decision from earlier in March not to take the case to a grand jury has drawn both severe backlash and fervent praise as many took to Twitter to express their opinions.
Re: #JamarClark Competent police officers should be able to disarm a suspect without having to fire their own weapon.— Щeф Андрéй (@Щeф Андрéй)1459363434.0
They murdered #JamarClark and stripped him of his humanity & stripped the black community of every legitimacy as witnesses. #Justice4Jamar— Jigme (@Jigme)1459364665.0
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter