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Possible charges in Jamar Clark shooting won't be decided by grand jury

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The Jamar Clark case will not be heard by a grand jury, and instead the county attorney will decide whether to bring charges.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday a grand jury will not be convened for the fatal shooting of Clark by Minneapolis police, because of "accountability and transparency limitations."

Freeman added: "For me, grand juries should no longer be used in police shooting cases in Hennepin County."

This is one of the demands protesters had been asking for. Community activists and Jamar Clark's family have said grand juries are "ineffective at holding officers accountable" in police-involved shootings.

https://twitter.com/krennylavitz/status/710136645350084608

Grand juries are usually involved

Instead, the decision on whether to charge the two officers involved in Clark's shooting death will come from himself, Freeman said. But that decision won't be made Wednesday. He will be assisted by senior attorneys in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, law enforcement, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI.

Minnesota law says grand juries are required for first-degree murder and other charges for which the sentence may be life in prison, but they may also be called at the discretion of a county attorney.

They are often used in police-involved shootings across the country – and have been used in Hennepin County for these types of cases for the last 40 years, Freeman explained, but there is "growing discussion that grand juries may no longer serve the present evolving standards of justice, accountability and transparency."

Freeman said whether or not to use a grand jury in police shooting cases is a "hard decision" and he's spent the last few months considering them, trying to strengthen the system, and talk to people about their concerns before coming to his decision. Freeman said:

"I concluded that the accountability and transparency limitations of a grand jury are too high a hurdle to overcome. So, at this point in time, and in a democracy where we continually strive to make our systems fairer, more just and more accountable, we in Hennepin County will not use the grand jury in the Jamar Clark case."

To read Freeman's full statement, click here.

Police chief, others react

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau released a statement on Freeman's decision:

“I respect this was a challenging decision for the county attorney to make. The legal standards and thresholds remain the same, whether this case is looked at by a grand jury or reviewed by the county attorney.”

Reactions to Freeman's decision were swift from activists who pushed for no grand jury in Clark's case.

https://twitter.com/ACLUMN/status/710144580767895552

https://twitter.com/mnnoc/status/710144625885851649

https://www.facebook.com/blacklivesmatterminneapolis/photos/a.840301319346996.1073741830.838424259534702/1073068136070312/?type=3

https://twitter.com/jacobmruff/status/710141577595723776

https://twitter.com/chloflurries/status/710136761180102656

https://twitter.com/votegriffin/status/710148035666440192

https://twitter.com/UR_Ninja/status/710145869102747648

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His reason: Grand juries just aren't that transparent and there's lack of accountability.