Protests in Mpls after police shoot suspect; witnesses question official account

Author:
Publish date:

Hundreds of people marched in Minneapolis Sunday to protest a police shooting early in the day that left a suspect in an assault in the hospital.

The man, identified as Jamar Clark by community members, was shot around 1 a.m. following a struggle with police officers, but there's disagreement over whether he was handcuffed at the time he was shot, the Star Tribune reports.

His current condition is also unclear; family members say he was shot in the head and is on life support, while the police have not released any information except to say he is being treated at a hospital.

The demonstration continued into Sunday evening outside the Fourth Precinct police station.

The marchers, organized by the NAACP, walked from the scene of the shooting to the precinct building, where they pounded on the locked doors, demanding to be let inside.

About 20 of the demonstrators were staging a "sit-in" just outside the precinct doors and said they would stay there until Mayor Betsy Hodges comes to talk to them.

Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau held a community listening session Sunday evening just a few blocks away to discuss the shooting.

The mayor's listening session drew a large crowd, according to MPR News.

According to police, officers were responding to an assault call on the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue North around 12:45 a.m. An ambulance was called to the scene because Clark and his girlfriend got into an argument, the Star Tribune reports.

Paramedics took the girlfriend away and the man tried to talk to her again. He began "confronting paramedics and disrupting their ability to render aid," the police said in a news release.

Officers attempted to calm the suspect but a physical altercation ensued, police said. At some point during the struggle, an officer shot his weapon, hitting Clark.

Police say Clark was not in handcuffs when he was shot, but several witnesses have said he was in handcuffs.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the circumstances of the shooting, and the question of whether Clark was in handcuffs will be part of that investigation, officials said at a Sunday morning news conference.

 Minnesota BCA Superintendent Drew Evans and Minneapolis Chief of Police Janeé Harteau at a news conference Sunday morning. In the background, Mayor Betsy Hodges, City Council Member Blong Yang, and City Council President Barbara Johnson. (Photo: Tony Webster, Flickr)

Minnesota BCA Superintendent Drew Evans and Minneapolis Chief of Police Janeé Harteau at a news conference Sunday morning. In the background, Mayor Betsy Hodges, City Council Member Blong Yang, and City Council President Barbara Johnson. (Photo: Tony Webster, Flickr)

Clark was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center. Officials did not provide details on his condition or release his name.

The NAACP claimed in a news release Sunday afternoon that Clark, who is in his mid-20s, was shot in the head.

State Rep. Raymon Dehn, a DFLer who represents the area where the incident occurred, released a statement saying Clark is on life support at HCMC. He called the shooting "senseless."

Two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the BCA's investigation. The officers have not been identified.

Community disputes PD's account of shooting

Community members held a news conference Sunday morning to address the shooting after witnesses took to Twitter using the hashtag #JamesAndPlymouth to dispute the police department's report.

 Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds speaks to the media at Plymouth and James Avenue North, the site of the Minneapolis Police officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark. Photo: Tony Webster, Flickr)

Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds speaks to the media at Plymouth and James Avenue North, the site of the Minneapolis Police officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark. Photo: Tony Webster, Flickr)

"He didn't resist. He did not fight back. There was no struggle and he was in handcuffs when he shot that young man," Nekelia Sharp, who lives nearby, told KSTP, noting after he was shot, police took him out of the handcuffs.

Witnesses also said police officers threatened them to leave the scene immediately after the incident, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said in a post on Facebook.

MPD involved in shooting hours earlier

The shooting was the second officer-involved shooting this weekend in Minneapolis.

A few hours before, and about a mile away, police had had attempted to pull over a vehicle on Golden Valley Road and Upton Avenue North around 7 p.m. in connection with a shots fired investigation, a news release says.

The vehicle fled, and officers pursued.

The suspect vehicle then stopped and officers approached it on foot, but the vehicle backed up at officers and "one officer, in imminent danger, discharged his weapon," striking only the car, police said.

No one was injured and the suspect was taken into custody without incident, the release noted.

Police have said the two incidents are not related.

These shootings come days after Minneapolis officials announced a new unit to investigate shootings and other violent crimes, the Star Tribune says.

The "Violent Crimes Investigation Team" will comprise of six of the city’s most experienced and successful investigators drawn from various departments, who will probe “every gun crime and shooting in the city," city officials announced Friday.

Next Up

Related

St. Paul NAACP questions account of fatal police shooting

The St. Paul chapter of the NAACP is raising questions of police accounts of an officer-involved fatal shooting of a man this week during a drug investigation. The NAACP claims damage to the vehicle of the man, 41-year-old Terrance Gaddy, doesn't match up to police statements that Gaddy used his vehicle as a weapon by slamming it into police vehicles and nearly pinning an officer.