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Video shows clashes between civilians, police clearing homeless encampment

Minneapolis police say five people were arrested.
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The removal of a homeless encampment in North Minneapolis led to clashes between police and civilians, with five people being arrested.

Minneapolis police officers joined city employees to evict those staying at the  encampment at 205 Girard Ave. N. Thursday morning on city orders.

Police blocked off the street using squad cars, but a Minneapolis Police Department statement said that defenders of the camp had pushed dumpsters into the road.

Spokesman John Elder says three individuals began to "swear at" and "taunt" officers, with some coming out of nearby homes to join them, with the group throwing snowballs at the officers and squad cars on the scene. Police claim there were then "25-30 people ... actively challenging officers and pushing against their line."

But a camp volunteer told the Star Tribune that at least one officer was accelerated "aggressively" towards the line before stopping, and alleged that "police intimidation escalated tensions."

Five people were arrested as a result of the clashes that followed, with MPD saying one officer was "physically attacked" by a suspect, with one tackled from behind, another punched in the face, while a woman who was later arrested "jumped on the back of an officer and began to choke him."

The press release by MPD does not mention any of the actions police took in response, other than to say that as more officers arrived, they "attempted to push people back."

The video uploaded by MNUprising shows a man on top of a police officer, with another officer striking the man in the back more than once, and then holding the man while another officer struck him several times in the midriff as they wrestled him off the officer on the ground.

MPD also failed to note that officers used pepper spray on those at the scene, which was also captured on camera.

In a press conference Thursday morning, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that "from the limited video that I have seen, I was appalled by the actions of those community members that attacked my officers."

MPD says five officers were injured as a result of the incident, but were able to return to duty. The incident and use of force by police is being reviewed by MPD's Internal Affairs Unit.

Residents of the encampment had been given notice of the eviction on Monday, with the Minneapolis Health Department and Community Planning and Economic Development Department saying it poses "site contamination, fire hazards, and other health and safety risks."

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