BCA: Jamar Clark shooting probe done; findings sent to prosecutors

Jamar Clark
This undated photo released by his sister Javille Burns shows Jamar Clark, who was fatally shot in a confrontation with police on Nov. 15, 2015, in Minneapolis. The state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension led an outside investigation of the shooting.
Javille Burns via AP

Updated: Feb. 11, 7:58 a.m. | Posted: Feb. 10, 2:29 p.m.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has concluded its investigation into an officer-involved shooting that sparked weeks of protests back in November.

Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old African-American man, was shot by Minneapolis police on Nov. 15. He died the next day.

The Minneapolis Police Department sought an outside investigation into the shooting. The BCA said Wednesday it turned its findings over to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for review. The agency said it's standard procedure in any investigation that the case gets turned over to the county attorney for review.

Prosecutors will now review the file for completeness and additional investigation may be necessary. Although it is difficult to predict how long the review will take, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he would like to have a decision by the end of March on whether to bring charges.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said he's expecting no charges for the shooting.

"I have faith in the BCA," Kroll said. "I'm sure they completed a thorough and complete investigation. I look forward to a no bill, and our officers' good reputations restored."

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement the two officers — earlier identified as Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg — returned to work on Jan. 6. The department said they're working in the special operations and intelligence Division.

Kroll said they've been assigned to desk jobs, which violates their contract. He said they had been assigned to home duty prior to that, and only through arbitration were they allowed to go back to work.

Clark's death caused numerous protests in Minneapolis, including a weekslong encampment outside of the Minneapolis 4th Precinct police station.

Some witnesses claim Clark was handcuffed at the time he was shot; police union officials say Clark was not handcuffed and was reaching for an officer's weapon when shot.

"I just hope the truth comes out about what really happened and why did the officer shoot and kill my son?" said James Clark, Jamar Clark's father. "I hope they handled it [the investigation] successfully and got to the truth about what happened that Sunday morning."

The protest demanded releasing the shooting tapes.
Protesters have demanded the release of video tapes of Jamar Clark's shooting, but they have been kept private during the investigation.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2015

The day after the shooting, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called for a federal civil rights investigation, but said she had confidence in Minneapolis police and BCA investigators.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, hopes the investigation was done fairly by the BCA. She wants Freeman to skip the grand jury and decide to charge the officers.

According to an MPR News investigation, of 20 grand juries called to examine fatal shootings by Minneapolis police officers since 2000, not one has returned an indictment.

"In this case, we have a situation in which there's already a high level of distrust between African-Americans, law enforcement and the criminal justice system," she said. "In order to rebuild that trust, and ensure transparency and accountability, there should be direct prosecution in this case."

Levy-Pounds said the video evidence needs to be released. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota joined forces to file a lawsuit seeking to force the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to release video it's collected of the shooting.

On Wednesday, spokesperson Jill Oliveira said "the BCA will follow the law and release the videos and all other public data once the case is closed as we would in any other investigation."

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office in Minnesota said the Department of Justice investigation is ongoing.

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