The takedown of Jamar Clark by a Minneapolis police officer moments before he was shot has raised questions over whether the officer failed to de-escalate the situation and in the process violated the department’s use-of-force policy.
After announcing his decision Wednesday not to charge the two officers involved in the shooting, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman pointed out that officer Mark Ringgenberg employed a takedown move that was “not favored” by the Minneapolis Police Department. Freeman told reporters that Ringgenberg learned the technique in San Diego, where he worked with the city’s police department from July 2008 to March 2012, spending part of the time on a specialized unit handling high-crime areas. While working there, he was sued in federal court for his alleged rough treatment of a suspect resisting arrest. The suit was later dismissed.
In an interview with Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent Michael Phill, Ringgenberg said he was taught in San Diego to take anyone who resists to the ground.
“It’s safer for everybody. It’s easier … to gain control and place them in handcuffs,” he said. “It’s harder to get leverage when people are standing up.”
Ringgenberg told Phill that he and officer Dustin Schwarze had employed the method before.
“Alright, so you, with your training and experience, taking him to the ground makes it safer for everybody and easier to get him cuffed?” Phill asked.
“Yes,” Ringgenberg said.
“However it didn’t work out that way, right?” Phill countered.
“No,” the officer replied.
The encounter with Clark was partly captured on video from an ambulance that responded to the scene, which drew a loud reaction from several activists at the morning news conference.
At a news conference later in the day, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau declined to comment on the matter, citing continuing investigations.