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Hodges asks 4th Precinct protesters to act peacefully, officers to show restraint

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Since the shooting of Jamar Clark, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has been a focus of activists.

Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, after police cleared demonstrators out of the Fourth Precinct's vestibule, they want to ensure the protesters' right to freedom of speech, but that needs to be balanced with public safety.

Hodges released a statement about 10 p.m. that night, while tensions at the Fourth Precinct were high, asking people to remain calm, saying emotions are running high and noting she shares many of them.

“ I firmly believe in everyone’s right to protest and understand that people want to have places where they can gather and do that peacefully. We also want to ensure everyone’s safety. Chief Harteau and I are asking officers to exercise maximum restraint, and are asking protesters to act peacefully. I thank the many officers and protesters who are doing just that.”

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.

Hodges comments on other claims

Hodges has also been accused by Black Lives Matter of organizing a meeting with activist leaders and Clark's family at the same time officers began moving people out of the Fourth Precinct.

An email statement from Hodges' office calls it a "rumor," noting the mayor met with six members of Black Lives Matter and two of Clark's family members from 10:30-11:10 a.m. at Zion Church — and police began clearing the precinct at about 1:50 p.m.

Hodges on Twitter also addressed a report regarding the National Guard, calling it false.

Some demonstrators went to the Hodges' home late Wednesday. A Twitter user identifying herself as Ashley Fairbanks tweeted the following photo, later clarifying they were invited in.

Black Lives Matter

Protesters looking for answers from Mayor Betsy Hodges at her home while Minneapolis Police abuse peaceful protesters with mace, batons, fists, and rubber bullets. All to defend police who shot an unarmed, and likely handcuffed #JamarClark in the head.#4thPrecinctShutdown #ReleaseTheTapes #WheresBetsy

Posted by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

" target="_blank">also provided a video:

[facebook url="

Protesters looking for answers from Mayor Betsy Hodges at her home while Minneapolis Police abuse peaceful protesters with mace, batons, fists, and rubber bullets. All to defend police who shot an unarmed, and likely handcuffed #JamarClark in the head.#4thPrecinctShutdown #ReleaseTheTapes #WheresBetsy

Posted by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

" /]

Hodges' history with the police union

There had previously been rumblings of a divide between the first-term mayor and the Minneapolis police officers' union, something the Star Tribune posited a year ago when writing about the #pointergate fallout.

Part of it stemmed from an open letter in which Hodges said some officers “abuse the trust that is afforded to them, and take advantage of their roles to do harm rather than prevent it.” She also used the letter to outline her vision for what better community-police relations would look like, including body cameras to improve police officer accountability, more bias training, and working to bring in more non-white officers.

As a response, President of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis John Delmonico wrote an editorial in the Star Tribune that accused Hodges of “spreading misconceptions” about the Minneapolis police force and labeling all officers as part of a problematic culture.

The Star Tribune argued the schism went back even further than the letter, to her time negotiating pensions with the union while she was on the city council.

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