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Jamar Clark settlement announced, community vows to keep up the fight

By Sam Martinez |
August 9, 2019
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Minneapolis, MN - On August 8, a settlement was reached in the case of Jamar Clark. The city of Minneapolis awarded $200,000 to Jamar Clark’s families.

Clark was murdered by Minneapolis police officers on November 15, 2015. According to witnesses, he was handcuffed when he was shot at point-blank range. His killing led to massive protests and a weeks-long winter encampment in front of the police precinct office near the scene of his death. Investigators ignored the input of 20 witnesses to the killing, forcibly seized all video of the shooting, and refused to release the video to the public. No charges were pressed against the officers, who both still work as Minneapolis cops.

The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J) issued a statement that read, “Today’s settlement happened because the community has been in the streets defending itself, demanding that killer cops be held accountable, and confronting politicians on their inaction, and most importantly demanding a way forward via community control of the police!”

TCC4J has issued the following demands. Fire killer cops. Reopen the cases. $20 million for all families of police crimes. Community control of the Minneapolis police department and give us back our community center.

The TCC4J statement expands on the demands: “Fire and prosecute officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze. Send them to prison. Jamar Clark was killed in the era before cops were even remotely held accountable for anything. This city and this nation have changed. We are seeing the spiraling devastation, in the form of mass shootings, for example. These are encouraged, in part, by politicians and policymakers giving the quiet nod to racists and white supremacists, by those policymakers’ inaction when a member of our community is murdered by cop. Justine Damond’s family was awarded $20 million for her horrific murder. A chunk of the Damond settlement ($2 million) went to the Minneapolis Foundation, which is headed by former mayor of Minneapolis RT Rybak. Jamar Clark’s families got $200,000. That is a fraction of the $2 million cut that the white, smug establishment figures who run the Minneapolis Foundation playing with right now.”

A community center is a longtime demand of the Black community in North Minneapolis. The 2015 encampment was outside the Fourth Precinct, which used to house a community center that was erected after the Plymouth Avenue uprising of 1967. That was razed in 1988 to build a police precinct building.

On August 6, TCC4J and community members visited the mayor and city council members to advocate for a settlement, comparable to the one for Justine Damond. They also demanded the re-opening of the case and that the cops who murdered Jamar Clark be fired.

Today, August 8, multiple activist groups held a protest at the state capitol to demand Governor Tim Waltz follow through on his promises to meet with community members, review and reopen police shooting cases, and investigate the incompetent handling of police shooting cases by the Minnesota state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The governor refused to meet with the activists.

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