Evidence details similar July incident with Jamar Clark, MPD

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman released new evidence in the Jamar Clark investigation Thursday, detailing Clark’s arrest in July in which he claimed officers used excessive force. There’s a striking similarity between the two cases because officers said he resisted being handcuffed.

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It started with a short car chase in north Minneapolis last July.  The plate had popped as a stolen a stolen vehicle and Clark led police through stop signs and down alleys before losing control in a turn.

Squad car footage shows Clark exited the vehicle with his hands up, but was tackled when he ignored orders to get on the ground.

Pictures show he was injured from being punched in the head. In his report, the officer says he punched Clark because he resisted the officers trying to handcuff him and refused to put his hands behind his back, tensing his arms so the officers could not move them.

Freeman released all the video and documents from the encounter, which took place four months before Clark’s death, for those handcuff similarities.

The documents are included in the 1,277 pages of evidence related to the deadly shooting available on the Hennepin County attorney’s office website. Critics say that details by dozens of witnesses to the shooting were ignored.

The transcripts of the witness interviews show how much they vary. One witness parked across the street told investigators she clearly saw Clark resisting and that he was not handcuffed. Another said Clark was handcuffed based on the motion they saw. Yet another told police Clark has his hands up as police approached, then they cuffed.

Another witness said they know Clark was handcuffed and that someone took the handcuffs off after the shooting.

Many of the witnesses admitted to drinking because it was a Saturday night. It was dark and the scene became chaotic. But, many of the witness details do not align with the video from the ambulance, which is why investigators do not release video as a way to know who actually saw it and who did not.

The evidence also includes interviews with the Minneapolis police officers, Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg conducted two days after the shooting.

Both said as they approached Clark he refused to take his hands from his coat pockets. Schwarze said as they grabbed his arms Clark became tense.

“He wasn’t saying anything else,” Schwarze said. “There was a struggle over me trying to get his hands behind his back.”

Ringgenberg interview shared the same details.

“He kept refusing and he was pulling away and I couldn't get his hands behind his back,” Ringgenberg said.

That is when he performed the takedown maneuver, concerned Clark may have a weapon, which led immediately to a struggle and quickly to the fatal shooting.

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