- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that ambulance video recorded on the night a black man was fatally shot by Minneapolis police is inconclusive, and the footage neither exonerates the officers involved nor supports claims that the man was handcuffed.

Dayton said he watched video recorded by the ambulance at the scene of Jamar Clark’s shooting on Nov. 15. Authorities have said Clark, 24, was shot during a struggle with police after he interfered with paramedics who were trying to assist an assault victim. But some people who said they saw the shooting allege Clark was handcuffed.

The governor said he watched less than a minute of footage on Friday and described the “inconclusiveness of it” to Clark’s family during a weekend meeting.

“I gave them my oath and my word of honor, there’s nothing in there that can provide any confirmation of this view that we had officers who acted as some allege they did,” he said.

Protesters and Clark’s family have been calling for investigators to release video of the shooting. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it has video from the ambulance, a mobile police camera and other sources, but none of it shows the event in its entirety. The agency, which is conducting a state investigation, said releasing the footage now would taint its investigation.

A federal criminal civil rights investigation is also under way, to determine whether police intentionally violated Clark’s civil rights through excessive force. That’s a high legal standard to meet because an accident, bad judgment or simple negligence on the officer’s part isn’t enough to bring federal charges.

Dayton said the footage has no audio but shows “a very brief fragment where Mr. Clark and one of the officers encountered each other, and then they disappear from sight.” The governor refused to say whether the video shows a struggle. He said one of the officers later comes back into view.

Dayton said he requested to view the video, and he defended his decision to see it while protesters and family members have not.

“I’m the governor of the state of Minnesota, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reports to me. It’s my responsibility to know the situation that I’m dealing with. It’s a very, very volatile situation,” he said.

Members of the NAACP, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and other community members have been protesting at the local police precinct for more than a week. They say they will not leave until they see justice, and they are demanding that authorities release video of the shooting.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP chapter, said in a statement posted on Facebook that the governor’s comments reinforce “the public’s need to see the videotape for themselves and to draw their own conclusions, rather than relying upon the perspective of one government official who is not a trained expert in this field.”

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Associated Press writer Kyle Potter contributed to this report from St. Paul, Minnesota.


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