Mediation in federal court ended Tuesday afternoon without a settlement in the lawsuit concerning the police shooting death of Jamar Clark.
John Dornik, an attorney for Clark’s siblings, said the family demanded $20 million as a starting point for negotiations. But Dornik said the city never extended a counter-offer.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said despite negotiations breaking down, a settlement is still possible.
With the case now hearing toward trial, Judge Michael Davis will rule on a motion from the city to throw out the lawsuit. A hearing on that motion will be set in the near future.
Clark father James was accompanied by his attorneys and several family members Tuesday morning as they walked into the federal courthouse in Minneapolis. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, City Council President Lisa Bender and council members Andrea Jenkins and Jeremiah Ellison were representing the city.
KARE 11's Lou Raguse was at the courthouse. He said the negotiations are done in secret, with a judge going back and forth between the two sides, which are seated in separate rooms.
The negotiations occurred less than a day after more than a dozen community advocates and relatives of Clark gathered outside the courthouse to publicize their settlement demands. The $20 million settlement for Ruszczyk Damond's family was the largest in Minnesota history and almost as much as all Minneapolis misconduct payouts over the past 15 years combined, according to our reporting partners at MPR News.
"A black man has to go through so much to get justice, and still, justice ain't being done?" said James Clark, Jamar's father. "It should be justice for everybody."
Earlier this month, the city council rejected a settlement agreement in the Clark case for unknown reasons that have not been revealed publicly. On Tuesday, the judge told both sides to "plan on spending the entire day and evening, if necessary," at the settlement conference.
Council President Lisa Bender did not issue a new statement this week but said earlier in the month that "it has been and will continue to be our job to balance our legal responsibilities to the City with our commitments to the people of Minneapolis to center racial equity in our decisions."
Civil rights attorney Frederick Goetz, who is not affiliated with either case, said all cases must be evaluated on an individual basis. The $20 million settlement for Ruszczyk Damond's sets a precedent, but in that case the family may have had more leverage in the civil case because of Officer Noor's criminal conviction for murder.
In the Clark case, the officers were not criminally charged.
With no civil settlement reached on Tuesday, Goetz expects a trial could happen within the year.
"It all depends on what the plaintiffs are willing to receive and what the city is willing to pay. If they can agree on a number, they'll settle," Goetz said. "If they can't, it won't."