The Black Lives Matter movement is demanding the names of police officers involved in a weekend shooting in Minneapolis. They also demanded any video available of the incident. They are camped out overnight at a police precinct in Minneapolis. Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau held a conference at the Minneapolis Urban League on November 15. They said that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting. The meeting soon became raucous.
During the pre-dawn hours on November 15, police responded to reports of an assault on a woman by a man. While on their to the north Minneapolis location, the police received news that the suspect had been interfering with the work of paramedics on the scene. According to police reports, an altercation ensued between the suspect and police. An officer shot a man on the scene. Family members identified him as Jamar Clark, 24.
Some witnesses claim that Clark’s hands were cuffed behind his back when he was shot. However, local police and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, citing preliminary findings, claim otherwise. Some witnesses claim that the police used a chemical irritant on the crowd.
On November 16, Black Lives Matter activists held a press conference where James Hill, Clark’s father, spoke. Hill demanded justice for his son. “I love my son,” he said. “For him to die getting shot like that, that’s bad. The police don’t care. The mayor don’t care. The police superintendent don’t care.” At the press conference, activist John Martin said that his community is tired of listening sessions with city officials. “It’s time for action,” he said. “Action right now. Sick and tired of this happening in our community.”
Hill said that Clark had died but was being kept on life support until family members can say their last goodbyes.
The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave: a standard procedure following a shooting. Their names have not been released.
Chairman Jason Sole of the Minneapolis NAACP’s criminal justice committee said 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.” It was in Ferguson, Missouri, that 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black male, was shot in an altercation with a police officer, sparking widespread protests and rioting. Sole told Minnesota Public Radio, “That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately,” Sole told Minnesota Public Radio News.
Clark had a history of run-ins with law enforcement. Clark has had contact with police in the past. In 2015, Clark was convicted of a felony count of terroristic threats and sentenced to 15 months in prison, but his sentence was stayed for five years and he was out on probation. In exchange for that guilty plea, a misdemeanor domestic assault charge and charges of damage to property were dismissed. Clark was convicted of felony aggravated robbery in 2010, and had a petty misdemeanor count of possessing a small amount of marijuana in 2009.