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Freeman made the right choice

Headlines last week declared that two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark had been cleared.
That’s not entirely accurate. What Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced is that no criminal charges would be filed against the two officers. He ruled that they acted within statutory authority in the death of Clark, who was shot in the head during a confrontation following an alleged assault.
Freeman laid out his findings concisely, thoughtfully and logically, backed by thousands of pages of documents, and we agree with him that no other prosecuting attorney would have come to a different conclusion based on the evidence, particularly the DNA evidence.
Freeman has been vilified for some for his decision, but those who disagree with his findings need to acknowledge that he also raised serious questions about the incident.
Freeman said he has the same questions that the public has. In particular, could this incident ended with some other outcome than the death of a young man?
Freeman was startled to discover that not all Minneapolis police officers carry Tasers. So were we. We have assumed that Tasers are a standard part of an officer’s equipment belt, along with flashlights, handcuffs, radios and handguns.
Freeman also questioned the technique used by one of the officers to “take down” Clark, noting that it was not a technique endorsed by the Minneapolis Police Department.
These are valid concerns. While Tasers don’t always work on combative people, they are another option to try before firing a bullet at someone. Neither of the officers involved in the incident had a Taser.
The Minneapolis Police Department says that cost is a factor as to why not every officer carries a Taser. The Minneapolis City Council needs to rectify that lack of funding.
And while the officer who took down Clark did not use an endorsed technique, he did what he had been trained to do (by another department) in the heat of the moment. Remember, all of this took place in a span of just over a minute.
The Minneapolis Police Department claims that it is already training officers in new de-escalation techniques for emotionally charged incidents.  (Perhaps we could all benefit from such training — it’s needed by everyone from playground bullies to presidential candidates).
And we need to remember that Freeman’s consideration of charges is just one of many investigations revolving around this incident. The Minneapolis police chief is still waiting an internal investigation before deciding the fates of the officers, who currently are on desk duty. The FBI is also investigating.
We have come to a fork in the road: either we can move forward with some improvements in how we relate to each other, or we can regress into anger, bittneress and even more hatred.
Let’s move forward.