A Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a 24-year-old man in November 2015 has been formally dismissed as a defendant in the excessive force lawsuit filed by the victim's family.
Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis issued a one-page order dismissing the claims against officer Dustin Schwarze, with prejudice. That means the suit cannot be refiled against him.
The judge also set a status conference for next week in his Minneapolis courtroom for an update on settlement talks.
The decision to dismiss Schwarze had been expected, as lawyers for the family of victim Jamar Clark agreed that the officer's actions were reasonable under the circumstances.
But the family's claims remain against Schwarze's partner, officer Mark Ringgenberg. The lawsuit claims Ringgenberg used excessive force when he took Clark to the ground.
Ringgenberg tussled with Clark and told Schwarze to shoot because Clark had his hand on the officer's holstered gun. Clark's DNA was later found on the gun handle.
A five-figure settlement of the Clark case was discussed and rejected last month by the City Council in a closed-door session with attorneys. On the same day, the council approved a $20 million settlement with the family of Justine Damond Ruszczyk.
She was shot in July 2017 in the alley behind her house by former police officer Mohamed Noor after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault. Noor was convicted in criminal court and sentenced last week to more than 12 years in prison in Ruszczyk's death.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to file criminal charges against the officers in the Clark shooting. His death sparked weeks of protest encampments. A group of activists continues to push "Justice for Jamar," arguing for equal treatment for Clark, who was black.
The Clark case had been seemingly dormant until the Ruszczyk settlement. Davis immediately summoned numerous City Hall leaders to his courtroom the following week for an update on the Clark discussions, then ordered both sides into mediated negotiations with Clark's attorneys.
But several hours of closed-door negotiations have yielded nothing. Clark's attorneys said the city didn't respond to their opening offer of a $20 million settlement.