Jamar Clark: What's to come with anticipated case decision

- Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman has said he expects to have a decision in the Jamar Clark case by the end of March, and with that deadline looming, months of protests, demonstrators demanding the officers be charged, the city is bracing for what's to come.

Family members of those killed in police shootings, including Jamar Clark’s father, spoke Saturday at a planned demonstration in favor of charging the two officers involved in his death.

“Any kind of people that's out here, there needs to be justice. They are not supposed to be killed by our police who are supposed to serve and protect,” James Clark said.

Clark was shot by Minneapolis police at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 outside of an apartment on the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue N. Clark, 24, died Monday, Nov. 16 after he was removed from life support. Witnesses have said Clark was in handcuffs and unarmed at the time of the shooting, but Minneapolis police said preliminary reports indicate Clark was not handcuffed.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has said he hopes to have a decision by the end of March on whether or not to charge the officers.

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“I was laying in my bed looking at my TV when I heard the shot,” Jason Farley said. He’s the neighbor that says he saw and heard the whole ordeal.

“I was able to open up my door and see everything; the way he was shot, the way he laid down, all of that.”

That day, the streets changed. Protesters camped for weeks at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct in the cold, occupied Interstate 94, and more recently, marched through downtown Minneapolis, days before the anticipated case decision.

“It’s easy for someone to look at the situation from the outside in and just have their opinion, voice their opinion, but they don’t know what happened,” Farley said.

Months later, decision looms behind riots in other cities across the country, and law enforcement braces for how the city will react, regardless of the decision.

Freeman said in mid-March the case would not be decided by a grand jury. He said while the use of a grand jury has been standard in police-involved shootings in Minnesota, they "may no longer serve the present evolving standards of justice, accountability and transparency."

"I will make the factual determination whether there is sufficient evidence to support a criminal charge against the police officers in the tragic death of Jamar Clark," Freeman said. "I will make that determination with the excellent assistance of senior attorneys in our office and the fine work of law enforcement, most notably, the BCA and FBI. This is my job and I will do it as fairly as I can."

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