By Kristoffer Tigue of Reuters via HuffPost Black Voices
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors said on Wednesday they would not bring charges against two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death of a 24-year-old black man, due to insufficient evidence.
After a months-long investigation, officials said they could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that two white officers acted wilfully to deprive the shooting victim, Jamar Clark, of his constitutional rights, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said at a news conference.
Local prosecutors had previously decided not to bring charges against officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.
“There are no winners here, and there is no victory for anyone. A young man has died and it is a tragedy,” Luger said.
“We are unable to bring federal criminal civil rights charges in this matter,” he said.
The fatal shooting came at a time of fierce national debate over the use of excessive force by police, especially against black men.
Luger cited contradictory and inconclusive evidence about whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot as well as about other circumstances of his death.
But he said the death of Clark had raised serious questions that must be addressed through a dialog in law enforcement regarding the use of force in Minnesota. He said that would prevent future tragedies.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis division conducted the investigation into Clark’s death at the request of the Minneapolis mayor.
Authorities said Clark was a suspect in an assault and had an altercation with the officers before one of them shot him.
Clark’s death in November sparked protests in Minneapolis and hundreds marched again in March when the prosecutor decided not to bring charges.
The officers involved in the shooting are on desk duty and are still awaiting an internal investigation by the police department.