On Tuesday, a federal Judge ordered city leaders to reconvene with the parents of Jamar Clark in a closed-door meeting. Clark was 24-years-old when he was shot and killed by a police officer in 2015. The officer claimed Clark was reaching for his gun during a struggle in north Minneapolis.
However, witnesses have said the shooting occurred while Clark was handcuffed and not resisting. Teto Wilson said he saw Clark "perfectly still, laying on the ground" when he was shot. Keisha Steele, who lived near the area of the shooting, said she saw Clark's hands behind his back. The shooting occurred in front of Ze'Morion Dillon-Hokins and Darrell Gross' houses. Dillon-Hokins said he saw Clark putting his hands up when police approached him. Officers handcuffed Clark and "choke-slammed" him, then shot him in the face. [MORE]
However, Clark's parents claim he was the victim of excessive force. They filed a wrongful death claim with the city and a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in 2017. Two years have passed without resolution.
"It seems like they're trying to kick our case under the rug," James Clark, Jamar's father, said.
When the judge learned city leaders rejected a settlement offer by Clark's attorney on the same day they announced a historic deal with relatives of 40-year-old Justine Ruzszyk Damond, the judge ordered both sides to meet in a closed-door mediation session at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
The announcement of the Damond settlement, by the mayor and members of the City Council, came just three days after Mohamed Noor, who is black, Somali and Muslim, became the first Minnesota police officer convicted of murder in an on-duty killing.
[Additionally the white police chief was fired less than one week after the incident. Also, less than two weeks after the shooting, Minneapolis acting police chief Medaria Arradondo announced that police officer body camera usage would now be mandatory during all calls and traffic stops.].
"It's totally baffling why the City Council didn't accept our settlement offer," said Bill Starr, Clark's attorney.
Starr described the offer as nowhere near the amount of the Damond settlement, which was reached in record time and in the historic sum of $20 million. City leaders declined to say why it took the Clarks' offer off the table. Clark's father suspects there is a racial double standard in the justice system.
"They're just making it worse for black people because it was a racist thing, ya know," said Clark.
The city's own records disclosed it has paid out many times in officer misconduct cases before. Since 2006, 170 claims have been resolved totaling nearly $20 million. They are taxpayer dollars.
As for the Clark case, there is more to come. A trial is set for July, but if a deal is reached before then, or the case thrown out, then a trial would be avoided.