Jamar Clark's family sues Minneapolis officers in his fatal shooting

Jamar Clark
Jamar Clark
Javille Burns via AP

The family of Jamar Clark, the African-American man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police during a confrontation in 2015, is suing the two officers involved in his death, alleging they violated his civil rights.

The civil complaint was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Clark, 24, was shot while he was on the ground, struggling with police in north Minneapolis on Nov. 15, 2015. Responding officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg had been told he was interfering with a paramedic crew treating his girlfriend outside a late-night birthday party.

Schwarze said he fired because his partner yelled that Clark was holding Ringgenberg's gun. He said he feared for Ringgenberg's life.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze
Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze
Hennepin County Attorney

The suit claims the officers' "unreasonable use of excessive force" led to the fatal shooting.

The Clark family is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said she could not comment on the suit because it's a pending legal action.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to charge the two officers in the shooting death of Clark, saying the use of force in the situation was justified.

That decision was followed by a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers willfully violated Clark's civil rights.

Brandt Williams contributed to this report.