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Jamar Clark settlement talks end without agreement

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Attorneys for the family of Jamar Clark and the city of Minneapolis ended settlement talks Tuesday with no deal. 

John Dornik said during the five or so hours of talks both sides remained far apart. The family opened the negotiations by asking for $20 million.

"That was the starting number but then there was an ask to put a number on the table so the parties could move, but that was never done," Dornik said.

Dornik, an attorney representing Clark's siblings, says the city didn't abide by the family's request for a counteroffer.

The city has agreed to pay $20 million to the family of Justine Ruszczyk. While both she and Clark died after Minneapolis police officers shot them, their cases differ in many ways.

Mohamed Noor, was convicted of murder and manslaughter in Ruszczyk's death on April 30. The officer who shot Clark, Dustin Schwarze, was not charged with a crime. Ruszczyk had called police for help and was unarmed when she was shot. Schwarze has said he shot Clark because he feared that Clark would wrestle a gun away from his partner as the two rolled on the ground.

Ruszczyk was white, Noor is black. Clark was black, Schwarze is white.

Activists have said city leaders need to show that they value black lives as much as the lives of white people.

Dornik says Clark's family wants a settlement that makes a statement.

"It isn't just money for the family. It's something for the community entirely," he said.

The Ruszczyk family's attorney, Bob Bennett, said he was looking for what he called a "transformative settlement." That same term was adopted by William Starr, who represents James Clark, Jamar's father.

Starr, who previously negotiated a settlement which was rejected by the council earlier this month, called the first offer nominal.

The parties appear to be going forward to trial, though Mayor Jacob Frey says settlement talks could resume at any time.

"While the court schedule will continue, we could also continue with those discussions," Frey said.

Frey was joined by City Council members Lisa Bender, Andrea Jenkins and Jeremiah Ellison as well as city attorney Susan Segal.

The city's legal team will prepare to argue its motion to have the court dismiss the case altogether. Segal has said the city has a high success rate when it tries cases in court. However, if a jury finds in favor of Clark's family, jurors will determine how much the city should pay out.

A trial date is forthcoming.