Unrelated lawsuit names officer involved in man's death

Updated: 5:36 p.m. | Posted: 9:20 a.m.

One of the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death of Jamar Clark was accused of using excessive force four years ago while working for a different department.

According to a complaint filed last week in federal court, Dustin Schwarze and two other Richfield police officers violently subdued a man during an early morning traffic stop in 2011. Nataniel Hanson accused Schwarze of threatening to beat him and using a Taser on him several times while he was on the ground.

Schwarze was hired by the city of Minneapolis in 2014. City records show that during his tenure with Minneapolis two internal affairs cases have been opened against him. One was closed with no discipline and the other is pending.

Attorney Tim Phillips, who is representing Hanson, said the incident was captured on squad car video. He said Schwarze used the Taser on his client in the "drive stun mode."

"That's when the air cartridge is removed and the device is put next to someone's body and delivers a shock and it's essentially a torture device at that point," said Phillips. "It's just to deliver an extreme amount of pain in an attempt to gain compliance."

Phillips said the video showed that Hanson was already compliant when the Taser was used.

The suit was originally filed in state court 10 days before the shooting of Jamar Clark. Phillips said it was moved to federal court last week.

According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Schwarze and Officer Mark Ringgenberg are under investigation for the shooting death of Clark. Ringgenberg was also accused of using excessive force while he worked as an officer in San Diego.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.