For a fourth night, protesters calling for the release of video that shows the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man descended on a north Minneapolis police precinct headquarters, only to be met with guns and mace as police pushed them back.
Wednesday’s protests came shortly after authorities named the two police officers involved in the shooting death of Jamar Clark, a Black man who police say engaged in a scuffle with officers after he tried to interfere with paramedics tending to his girlfriend early Sunday. Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the police union, said Clark allegedly tried to grab an officer’s gun during the struggle. Clark, who was shot in the head, was taken off life support two days later.
Witnesses, however, say Clark was handcuffed during the shooting.
During Wednesday’s demonstrations, protesters called for Mayor Betsy Hodges to address what they saw as an excessive show of muscle that included rifles, police in militarized gear, and mace canisters, the Star Tribune reports.
Hodges, who earlier this week requested a federal investigation into the shooting, took to Facebook to post a message to community members, empathizing with their sentiments and ensuring that everyone has a right to protest.
Throughout the night, Minneapolis police claimed, via Twitter, that chemical irritant was dispersed by protesters as they attempted to take down the tarp that separated police from demonstrators. Those on the ground, however, denied the claim, posting photographs and videos of police unleashing pepper spray on the crowds.
Clark’s family on Wednesday said they want “closure and justice,” but also called for peaceful protests.
From CBS Minnesota:
As Black Lives Matter supporters chanted outside the Fourth Precinct in a tense night of protest, Eddie Sutton — Clark’s brother — said they will hold their ground.
“This is what this is all about, you know,” Sutton said. “Standing for what you believe in.”
At a press conference earlier Wednesday, Javille Burns — Clark’s sister — said her brother was loved in the community. She called him the type of person who would lend a stranger the shirt off his back.
“I do want peace because guess what? He was a peaceful person, despite what the people are saying about my brother,” Burns said.
The officers involved in the shooting — Mark Ringgenberg, 30, and Dustin Schwarze, 28 — remain on paid administrative leave. Both are seven-year police veterans.
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