#Justice4Jamar: Ellison taken to task by protesters, neighbors complain about camp


Congressman Keith Ellison is facing a lot of criticism for calling on the #JusticeForJamar protesters to end their occupation outside the Fourth Precinct station in Minneapolis.

Ellison, who is black and Muslim, joined with Mayor Betsy Hodges earlier this week in saying the demonstrators should remove their makeshift camp because it's causing problems for neighbors and distracting from the larger debate over racial inequality and police conduct.

Protesters have been camping outside the precinct ever since the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark by a police officer on Nov. 15. They claim Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, but police officers deny that claim. Two investigations are underway to determine exactly what happened. 

Since the Monday announcement, protesters started calling Ellison a "sellout," according to the Associated Press, and challenged him in a heated Twitter debate.

Ellison is a Democrat and his district encompasses the city of Minneapolis. The Associated Press notes he's occupying a middle ground: trying to support the protesters' goals while pressing for action through political channels on the local, state and national levels.

As Ellison has moderated his tone, his influence over the protesters has waned, according to MPR's News Cut blog.

Fourth Precinct neighbors complain

As the occupation outside the Fourth Precinct has gone on for more than two weeks, some residents of the neighborhood are also calling for it to end.

The Star Tribune reports a few neighbors attended the City Council's public safety committee meeting Wednesday to complain about the noise and blocked streets, and a few people said their cars and property were vandalized.

Two shooting suspects released from jail

Two of the four men charged in connection with the shooting of several protesters near the Fourth Precinct have been released from jail. KSTP reports Daniel Macey and Joseph Backman are free after posting bond.

The other two suspects remain in Hennepin County Jail: Allen Scarsella and Nathan Gustavsson.

The shooting occurred on Nov. 23, after the men showed up near the Fourth Precinct. A group of protesters challenged the men and tried to get them to leave the scene, according to the criminal complaint.

Scarsella, 23, is accused of shooting the five men and faces the most serious charges – five counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. The other three men are charged with riot. 

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