Clark decision clear
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman went out on a limb Wednesday with his decision not to charge the two Minneapolis Police officers involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark last November. He knew that for many in the black community, justice for Clark means only one thing – the prosecution and conviction of the two officers.
But on Wednesday, Freeman calmly and clearly laid out the reasons for his decision – the laws and court rulings that apply to charging officers for their actions in the course of performing their duties, a detailed timeline of what transpired on the night Clark was shot, and a wealth of evidence showing that Clark had not been handcuffed before he was shot, that he was struggling with the officers, and that he had his hand on one of the officers guns when he was shot.
Freeman concluded that the officers has reason to be concerned for their safety and the safety of others if Clark had been able to get control of the officer’s gun, and were justified in the shooting, tragic as it was.
After Freeman’s announcement, some critics of the decision reject the evidence presented as “fake” or a “fairy tale.” They believe the witnesses at the scene who said, in conflicting statements, that Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. (Freeman said some witnesses said Clark was not handcuffed, some say his hands were cuffed behind him, some say in front of him, and some that only his left wrist was cuffed. But all the forensic evidence shows he could not have been cuffed.)
The only way Freeman could have come to a decision to charge the officers would be if he, like the protesters, totally rejected the evidence, statements and investigative reports. Ultimately, the decision was clear.