Protests after police shoot black man in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS: A Minnesota agency is investigating the shooting by a Minneapolis police officer of a black man suspected in an assault, an incident that sparked protests and prompted a community forum with the mayor and police chief. Accounts from some witnesses that the man was handcuffed when he was shot early Sunday morning led to outrage. Police said their preliminary investigation shows the man was not handcuffed, but the investigation is ongoing.
A large, agitated crowd gathered at the scene and demonstrations endured throughout the day. Witnesses said police used a chemical irritant to subdue the protesters. About 10 protesters spent a rainy and windy Sunday night outside a police precinct station not far from the scene of the shooting, and vowed to stay until the officer was arrested or indicted.
Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP’s criminal justice committee, said Sunday that many black residents of north Minneapolis are upset. “We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson,” he said, referring to the police shooting last year in the St. Louis suburb that prompted nationwide protests. “That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately,” Sole told Minnesota Public Radio News.
The shooting happened after police said they were called to north Minneapolis around 12:45 a.m. Sunday for a report of an assault. When they arrived, the man had returned and was interfering with paramedics who were assisting the victim, police said. Officers tried to calm him, but there was a struggle. At some point, an officer fired at least once, hitting the man, police said. Authorities have not released any information on the officer, including name and race. Authorities have also declined to release the name of the man who was shot, but the Minneapolis NAACP cited family members and witnesses in identifying him as Jamar Clark.
Martez McKnight, 22, told AP that Clark, his uncle, was put on life support after he was taken to a hospital. “The family is heartbroken and traumatized by the whole event,” McKnight said. A statement Sunday night from state Rep Raymond Dehn, who represents the area, said Clark was on life support. Police and a spokeswoman for the Hennepin County Medical Center said they could not comment on the man’s condition. Protesters organized by the group Black Lives Matter Minneapolis marched through the streets Sunday afternoon. Some beat drums and others carried banners. The group went to a police precinct, where they banged on the door and demanded to be allowed inside. Raeisha Williams with the Minneapolis NAACP told the AP protesters plan to stay at the precinct until the names of the officers involved are released.— AP