Police cleared of wrongdoing in Jamar Clark shooting, protests follow

The Democratic governor has sent several proposals to the state Legislature to address racial disparities in criminal justice, and he urged lawmakers to pass them.

David Joles/Star Tribune via AP
Minneapolis police officers head back toward the Fourth Precinct after being dispatched to head to the 1600 block of Plymouth Ave. N, where protesters had shut down the street Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Minneapolis, after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that no charges will be filed against two Minneapolis police officers in the fatal shooting of a black man.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says the Jamar Clark case is a reminder that the state needs to take a hard look at its criminal justice system.

The 24-year-old Clark, who was black, died in a confrontation with two white Minneapolis police officers last November. The officers were cleared Wednesday by a prosecutor who said they used necessary deadly force in a situation where they feared for their lives.

Dayton didn't comment on the finding and he praised Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for making the charging decision himself rather than relying on the closed process of a grand jury.

The Democratic governor has several proposals at the state Legislature to address racial disparities, and he urged lawmakers to pass them.

By Wednesday afternoon, several dozen people had gathered in north Minneapolis near the spot where Clark was short, hours after a prosecutor declined to charge the two police officers.  In the evening, demonstrators marched down a major street, chanting things like, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" and, "No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police."

Mihesha Gibbs, a 27-year-old administrative assistant from south Minneapolis, said incidents like Clark's shooting are becoming so common that they're no longer shocking.

Clark died a day after he was shot. It sparked waves of protests and an 18-day encampment outside the police precinct near where he died. 

Gibbs said she didn't condone violence but says that police can't "back someone into a corner and expect them not to have sort of reaction."

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