NAACP demands new probe of Jamar Clark police shooting
Updated 4:30 p.m. | Posted 12:31 p.m.
The head of the Minneapolis NAACP on Monday called on authorities to reopen the Jamar Clark police shooting case and appoint a special prosecutor to lead the investigation.
The demand for a new probe came as the woman who was injured the night Clark was shot by police said she was not Clark's girlfriend, that he never hit her that night and that the prosecutor's narrative that justified Clark's shooting by Minneapolis police was fabricated.
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RayAnn Hayes said she called paramedics about two hours after hurting her ankle at a birthday party in November and called for help only after it began to swell. "I never said anything about domestic violence. I never said anything about my boyfriend beating me. I don't know where that came from," she told reporters. "All these stories that are going around are not true."
Her comments were a rebuke to the report last week by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman who declined to press charges against the two officers involved in the shooting after concluding their use of force against Clark was justified.
Clark, 24, was shot during a confrontation with police in north Minneapolis on Nov. 15. Officers had been told he was interfering with a paramedic crew treating his girlfriend outside a late-night birthday party.
In his account, Freeman described Hayes as Clark's girlfriend. He said that paramedics found her with abrasions and a split lip and that she identified Clark as the person who'd hurt her. Later in the struggle with officers, Freeman said Clark told the officer he was "ready to die."
Hayes on Monday denied all of it. She described Clark as a "close friend" but not a boyfriend, and that "never in a million years would he say, 'I'm ready to die.'"
She asked the public to leave her alone.
Members of the Minneapolis NAACP and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called on the public to question the prosecutors' information and conclusions and demanded the case be reopened.
"We're asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor to really delve more deeply into this case," said Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds.
She also called again for federal authorities to take control of the Minneapolis Police Department, saying it needed to be reined in.
Teto Wilson, who also spoke at the press conference with Hayes and Levy-Pounds, said he walked out of the nearby Elks Club that night and saw Clark on the ground and an officer on top of him. He disputed the police and prosecutor's account that Clark was reaching for the officer's gun.
Clark "was thoroughly pinned down. He wasn't doing these weird movements trying to get a gun," Wilson said. The police account is "just not true."
Freeman, in a statement released Monday afternoon, said "Hayes gave a number of statements about the events surrounding her call to 911 on Nov. 15. In particular, she identified Jamar Clark as her assailant to the paramedics that night."
He noted one of the paramedics saying Hayes had identified Clark as the man who hurt her. "We are aware that Ms. Hayes also gave statements later that night she was assaulted by Clark, but months later claimed that she was not assaulted by him," Freeman said.
On the question of the record identifying Hayes as Clark's girlfriend, Freeman said, "some civilian witnesses who knew both Ms. Hayes and Clark characterized their relationship as being of a romantic or domestic nature. The investigative materials that we released contain all of the statements and evidence reviewed with respect to this issue and were considered together as a basis for our conclusion."
Anyone who reads the complete record available online and applies the legal standards on police use of deadly force "will agree that no charges can be brought against the police officers," Freeman added.
Hayes said she hasn't talked publicly until now because she didn't want to be at the center of the story.
"I didn't want the focus to be on me, because I'm not the focus," she said. "The focus is why they killed him. It don't matter what happened before. It matters why they did what they did, and I think people are trying to put the focus on me."