Videos released in 'excessive force' lawsuit filed against officer prior to Clark's death

Fox 9 has obtained video of the events that led to the “excessive force” lawsuit against Officer Dustin Schwarze, the Minneapolis officer involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark.

Ten days before Clark’s shooting, Schwarze was sued for his involvement in an arrest in 2011, when he worked for the Richfield Police. The lawsuit concerns the use of a Taser in the arrest.

According to the lawsuit against Schwarze, Nataniel Hanson, the plaintiff, was the passenger in a car pulled over on December 11, 2011. Officers asked the driver to exit the car and complete sobriety tests. Schwarze told passengers to remain in the car.

Audio from cell phone video shows a conversation occurring between passengers in the car, and an officer the lawsuit suggests is Schwarze.

“Step out of the car and see what happens,” says a person the lawsuit suggests is Schwarze.

“Is that a threat?” a passenger replies.

“That is a threat, f**k yeah, it is,” says a person the lawsuit suggests is Schwarze.

A passenger later replies, “if I get out of the car, you what, are you going to beat me up?”

“I’ll beat the s**t out of you,” the male voice replies.

Moments later, cell phone video shows heavy movement inside the car. Dash camera video shows several officers pulling a man, likely Hanson, out of the car. One officer kicks the man. Another officer punches the man. Schwarze uses a Taser on the man.

The officers all admit these actions in their police reports, but describe Hanson as not following their orders, and exhibiting a “heightening level of aggression” and acting “combative.”

Indeed, audio from the cell phone video reveals an officer saying, “stop resisting. Put your hands behind your back.”

However, the lawsuit describes Hanson as confused after hearing Schwarze tell him to remain inside the car and another tell him to exit. And in police reports, two officers write that they told Hanson to leave the vehicle.

After exiting the car, Hanson’s lawyers describe him as “prone on the ground and his hands were above his head,” but a police report describes Hanson as “fighting and resisting with his body and legs.”

Court records show Hanson was convicted of seat belt violations. Obstructing the legal process and disorderly conduct charges against him were dismissed. 

The suit alleges both false arrest and excessive force. The lawsuit was filed in Hennepin County on November 5, 2015, and removed to federal court on November 24, 2015. Hanson is suing the city of Richfield, and Dustin Schwarze, Nate Kinsey, and Aric Gallatin — police officers involved in his arrest.

Tim Phillips, an attorney for Hanson, sent a statement to Fox 9 saying: “We are optimistic that the jury will return a verdict in favor of our client. Yet holding police officers accountable when they unnecessarily kill or injure people is often impossible. This is why many people see the police as a force that terrorizes people with apparent impunity.”

Schwarze is one of two officers involved in Clark’s shooting, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The other officer is Mark Ringgenberg.

This is the second known lawsuit filed against Schwarze. There other suit, filed in 2009, alleged harassment in the recruitment of an informant, and was settled.

Ringgenberg, the other officer involved in Clark’s shooting, was sued for excessive force while he was an officer in San Diego; the lawsuit settled.