Less tension, more discussion as Jamar Clark protests continue at 4th Precinct


For the second night in a row, hundreds of people angry over the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark and frustrated with how officials have handled the follow-up gathered at the Fourth Precinct in North Minneapolis.

But unlike Wednesday night – when tension between the police and demonstrators threatened to escalate after rocks and bottles were hurled, and marking rounds and chemical irritants were sent into the crowds – Thursday's protests included room for discussion between community members and people voted into office.

Minneapolis Police said two people were arrested after they found profanities spray painted on the station.

In addition, FOX 9 reports an SUV tried to drive through the precinct's gate at one point.

(If you're interested, alternative news organization Unicorn Riot has a live stream from a couple hours of Thursday night – watch it here.)

Mayor Betsy Hodges

Twitter user @mattieroses uploaded some footage of Mayor Betsy Hodges, on the ground speaking with demonstrators Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, Hodges said she is committed to ensuring an independent investigation into Clark’s death, but also reiterated she doesn't have the ability to release surveillance footage from the incident – one of the main demands from protesters.

She'd previously called for demonstrators to remain peaceful, while asking the police to show "maximum restraint" – but did so from afar, leading to criticism from activists.

On Monday, the day after Clark was shot, Hodges requested the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the shooting, which the agency agreed to do.

Rep. Keith Ellison

U.S. Rep Keith Ellison was among those who spoke to the protest group, saying quality investigations take time, KARE 11 reports, while also noting all parties involved in Clark’s shooting deserve a full review of the facts.

Ellison, whose son appeared in a photo of a cop pointing a weapon at him, also released a statement saying everyone has to "be committed to establish the facts of what happened in the interest of justice."

He also praised Hodges for meeting with the community and acting quickly to ask for an investigation, but also urged the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to release the surveillance video.

City Council

Minneapolis City Council members were on the scene, some – such as Lisa Bender (Ward 10) – for the second night.

Alondra Cano (Ward 9) was also on the scene again, and put out a statement asking Gov. Mark Dayton to help push for the release of the video. On Wednesday, she'd asked for the police to institute a no-mace policy.

Cam Gordon (Ward 2) joined his two fellow council members in supporting the release of the footage,

" target="_blank">MPR reporter Riham Feshir tweeted.

On the second night of large protests outside the station, the atmosphere had even loosened to the point where there was a dance-off in the streets.

Attorney for officer says Clark was armed

The lawyer for one of the officers identified as being involved in Clark's shooting put out a statement Thursday night, which was shared by the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

It claims Clark would not comply with officers, refused to show his hands, and resisted arrest. When the officers tried to detain him Clark took control of one of their service weapons, the release says, and was given "multiple opportunities to desist."

The statement also says Clark was not handcuffed at the time.

What happened in the lead-up to the shooting is disputed:

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said Clark was not armed. The medical examiner ruled he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Activists claim he was handcuffed at the time, which police have said isn't true.

Police say he interfered with paramedics who were trying to help a victim in a suspected assault, and in the ensuing struggle was shot by an officer.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said handcuffs were recovered from the scene, but are investigating whether they were on Clark’s body when the shooting occurred.

Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were identified as the officers involved in the shooting. Both have been officers for seven years, including 13 months with the Minneapolis Police Department. They're on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

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