FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016
Contact: Jana Kooren, firstname.lastname@example.org 651.485.5925 cell or 651.529.1693
St. Paul, Minn – Today, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that the officers who killed Jamar Clark would not be charged. Jamar Clark was shot and killed by the Minneapolis Police on November 15, 2015 in North Minneapolis. He is one of 13 people that has been killed by law enforcement officers in Minnesota in 2015.
The following statement can be attributed to Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN:
Every killing by a police officer is a tragedy and Jamar Clark is no different. Law enforcement kill individuals far too often in the United States with over 1,000 police killings in 2015. At the ACLU, we believe human life should be valued above all else.
Statistics prove that Blacks and Native Americans are killed at much higher rates than their white counterparts. Without compromising public safety or the safety of officers, police departments need to push a model that focuses on de-escalation training, one that allows for more time to assess and better deal with the situation. Law enforcement departments around the world do not kill their citizens at the rate we do in the United States.
Law enforcement officers are rarely held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples that one can look to that demonstrate instances where police officers should have been charged, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice to name a couple. Our system needs to change so that police who recklessly and unnecessarily kill are prosecuted and held accountable for the deaths that they cause.
We are glad that County Attorney Freeman has published all of the videos and the evidence used in this case. It is important that there is transparency in the process the county attorney used in their decision. However, Jamar Clark was shot within 61 seconds of officers arriving on the scene. It is unsettling that he was shot so quickly. Officers should have allowed for more time to address the situation fully.
The ACLU-MN is working to reform our criminal justice system at all levels. A study published last year by the ACLU showed that Blacks were 8.7 times more likely to be arrested than whites in Minneapolis. The report can be found at www.aclu.org/minneapolis.
The ACLU-MN is a non-profit organization that works to defend the civil liberties of all Minnesotans. Learn more at www.aclu-mn.org