Protecting public safety, First Amendment rights to peaceful public demonstrations, City’s top priorities
Mar. 30, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) On Wednesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that after completing his investigation, his office would not be filing criminal charges against either of the two Minneapolis police officers involved in last November’s shooting death of Jamar Clark. The officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark remains a tragedy felt by people across the city, state, and nationally.
“Today is a hard day for everyone in Minneapolis. Many people are feeling hurt, anger, disappointment, frustration,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “My heart breaks for the loss of Jamar Clark’s life, and for the pain felt by everyone involved in this incident. There is a tear that has ripped through our community, one we cannot sew back up. And together as a city and a people, we can walk through this tear to build what we all want — a city that is safe and equitable for everyone.
“I absolutely support the right to express these emotions and demonstrate peacefully,” Hodges continued. “It is as much the job of the City of Minneapolis to facilitate the peaceful expression of free speech as it is to keep everyone safe: residents, businesses, visitors, police officers, bystanders, and demonstrators.
“I thank County Attorney Mike Freeman for his transparency, his professionalism, and his willingness to be publicly accountable for his decision. I also appreciate his thorough explanation of the process that he and his office followed to reach the decision, as well as his choice to release all of the evidence obtained during the course of the investigation.”
“This is a tragedy for everyone, including the Clark family and our officers,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau.
She also emphasized that protecting the public safety of everyone, including the safety of those expressing their First Amendment rights is, and will remain, the City’s top priority.
“We value our residents exercising their constitutional rights while also being safe and being treated with dignity and respect. Our highest priority will be keeping everyone – demonstrators, the public and police officers – safe as the city reacts to this decision,” said Chief Harteau.
Harteau also stressed the importance of demonstrators refraining from blocking emergency vehicles and first responders that serve to protect the health and safety of everyone in the community.
In addition to the independent investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the mayor and the chief requested a separate federal investigation. Once that investigation has been completed, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division and U.S. Attorney’s Office will determine whether the federal government will bring any charges. When that federal process concludes, the Minneapolis Police Department will continue its internal affairs process. The Minneapolis Police Department will not make any decisions on discipline until the conclusion of the federal investigation and the department has thoroughly reviewed all available evidence from the independent investigations.