Jamar Clark died in November 2015. Feels like a lifetime ago.
Clark was killed so long ago, the racist 4chan user who shot people at a Black Lives Matter protest in north Minneapolis has already appealed his case and had it re-adjudicated. Allen Scarsella's argument that one of his victims had a "reputation for violence" didn't convince an appellate court judge, and he'll continue serving out his 15-year sentence.
Local jurors never got to decide if Jamar Clark committed a crime the night Minneapolis cop Mark Schwarze shot him in the face from point-blank range, because Clark was already dead.
He was resisting officers' orders but not attacking them when Schwarze's partner Mark Riggenberg decided to wrap an arm around Clark and wrestle him to the ground.
Let's assume Minneapolis cops would be slightly less quick to have put their hands on Justine Ruszczyk, a petite white yoga teacher. But she was allegedly more aggressive toward cops than Clark had been: Mohamed Noor and his partner argued Ruszczyk had slapped their squad car, scaring Noor into fatally shooting Ruszczyk in the alley behind her house.
The stories of Clark's and Ruszczyk's deaths share similar beginnings: a murky 911 call, and a couple cops rolling up on a scene not knowing who or what they'll find. The differences are pretty obvious, too: a black man in North and a white woman in South...
...and the small matter of $20 million. That's how much Minneapolis City Council members agreed to pay Ruszczyk's survivors after Noor was convicted of murdering her, according to the Star Tribune, which reported on a closed-door decision made earlier this month.
Clark's killers didn't have to face trial, and according to that same Strib story, his family's still fighting for restitution of some sort from the city that employed them. A lawsuit they filed in 2017 -- not long before Ruszczyk was killed -- at first included the city, the department, and both officers; Schwarze, the shooter, was later released from the suit, which argues Riggenberg had used excessive force in taking Clark to the ground simply for not following orders.
If Ruszczyk's relatives got $20 million, how much could Clark's be pushing for?
The rejected amount in the Clark case is well below $100,000, according to sources with knowledge of the proposed settlement.
Oh. So, that... doesn't sound like a lot. That's less than council members make in a year, and kinda makes you wonder what the lawyers they -- and you, if you live here -- hire make each hour.
U.S. Senior Court Judge Michael Davis is wondering about the case, too, and has ordered the city to appear in court after learning the council had rejected a settlement with Clark's family on the same day it approved $20 million for Ruszczyk's. Council Member Phillipe Cunningham posted to Facebook the Clark settlement was spiked because it "way too low," per the Star Tribune, but later took the post down and said he wasn't allowed to talk on the record about it.
Suffice to say, a white family sleeps tonight knowing its relative's killer faced justice, and the city feels really, really bad she died.
How bad, if at all, does the city feel about Jamar Clark's death? His family might soon finally find out. Was he worth $20 million?
Not sure if anyone's taking bets on something so macabre as a police shooting death settlement, but reader: Take the under.