MINNEAPOLIS - The head of the Minneapolis Police Union said Thursday that 24-year-old Jamar Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot, but he was armed -- as he had control of an officer's gun.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said in a press conference that "Jamar Clark was not a peaceful, law-abiding citizen."
He went on to say that "someone needs to stand up in a leadership position and make a positive statement for the officers."
"Their names are out there being smeared and everyone's laying by their dish," he said. "They've destroyed the Fourth Precinct and the front yards there. They've taken it over. That's not a place to exercise your First Amendment rights. That's police property. What if people go in there and need our police services? They should not have been allowed to pitch one tent, set one fire or block the entryway for one minute."
He said Clark refused to show his hands or comply with police orders when police arrived to the scene of a domestic assault. He said he was involved in another domestic incident on Nov. 15, which sent a victim to the hospital with a broken ankle, among other injuries.
Kroll said he was "intimidating paramedics" that were trying to tend to the victim when police were called.
As officers were trying to detain Clark, he pushed back, according to Kroll.
"He chose to resist, fight officers and to seize control of an officer's firearm," he said. "Mr. Clark was given multiple opportunities to desist, but instead chose to engage officers in a life-or-death struggle for an officer's weapon."
According to the officer's statements about the incident, Clark had physical control of the hand grip of the gun, while it was in the holster.
Kroll said the incident should have been a peaceful encounter with officers.
"It was the actions and the choices of Mr. Clark alone which determined its outcome," he said.
"The officers are going to be exonerated for any wrongdoing. It is a homicide and it will turn out to not be a criminal homicide. It's someone's job to stand up and say that and stand up for the officers because no one else in the city is doing it."
Kroll said Clark's record included a guilty plea to first-degree aggravated robbery in 2010, in which he was sentenced to 41 months in prison. In April, Clark pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and as part of his sentence, was given a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, which required him to stay away from the victim until 2020.