NAACP, Black Lives Matter call for independent investigation into Jamar Clark shooting

The Minneapolis chapters of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter have called for the reopening of the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark and the appointment of a special prosecutor for the case.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, has been heavily critical of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision to not press charges against the police officers involved in Clark’s fatal shooting.

She pointed to recent statements by RayAnne Hayes, who denies police accounts that Clark assaulted her and was in a relationship with her, and other witness accounts disputing that Clark was resisting arrest as grounds for a new investigation.

“I never got beaten. I never called the police and said I was beaten by my boyfriend,” Hayes said at a news conference Monday. “I don’t even know where that story came from. … I’m just sick of the rumors.”

She said she was at a birthday party and injured her ankle after trying to disrupt a fight. She said she called 911 two hours later to report her injury, but didn’t say anything about being assaulted.

In a statement released Monday, Freeman said Hayes identified Clark as her assailant to paramedics. He said other civilian witnesses also characterized their relationship as “romantic or domestic in nature.”

“The prosecutor’s job is to answer the narrow question whether the police officers reacted unreasonably and without justification at the moment they used deadly force. If the answer to this question is that the officers acted reasonably in fear of their lives or lives of others, the prosecutor, under Minnesota Statutes and Supreme Court cases, cannot bring the criminal charges against them,” Freeman said. “I am convinced that if one reads the entire record available on-line and applies the mandated legal standard they will agree that no charges can be brought against the police officers.”

Freeman announced March 30 that he wouldn’t be charging Minneapolis police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze in the shooting death of Clark in North Minneapolis on Nov. 15.

He said DNA from Clark found on Ringgenberg’s gun was strong evidence in corroborating the officers’ stories that Clark was trying to get control of the officer’s gun.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department’s Civil Rights division are also reviewing Clark’s shooting death to determine if there were any violations of federal criminal civil rights statues.