People gathered in Minneapolis yesterday to protest the excessive force used against Jamar Clark, a young Black man in his 20s who was gunned down by local police the morning of Sunday, Nov. 16.
The shooting took place at approximately 1 am. Despite conflicting reports on his status, Clark’s family says he is now in intensive care and is being treated at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
First responders came to Clark’s apartment building as he was arguing with his girlfriend. During the dispute, paramedics began taking Clark’s girlfriend away in an ambulance. Clark was then shot as he was allegedly trying to talk to his girlfriend when the paramedics were discharging.
There are also conflicting reports on how Clark was shot; the police claim that the young Black man had yet to be subdued. However, eye witnesses and the local NAACP chapter claim that Clark had been pinned to the ground with an officer’s knee to his head, then was shot execution style.
Doctors at Hennepin County have told the shooting victim’s family that he is now brain dead after the attack. State Representative Raymond Dehn has also commented on Clark’s status, saying that he’s currently on life support.
Two officers that were behind the shooting are currently on paid leave; the investigation is currently being conducted by Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Police haven’t announced if the shooting was caught on video, but local journalist Sam Richards has pointed out a nearby security camera that likely caught footage of the events.
“I want to acknowledge that this is a very difficult situation for everyone involved: for members of our community, members of the Minneapolis Police Department and their families, and for the people that are standing here beside me,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said. “We need to know exactly what happened. We need to know the truth. Everyone involved needs that and deserves that.”
In response to the story, protestors convened at the local precinct to block the entrance as well as at the intersection of James and Plymouth where the shooting occurred. Protestors are demanding footage of the incident, an independent investigation, media coverage for civilians with eye witness testimonies and community oversight. They have also requested that law enforcement officers who are designated to Minneapolis neighborhoods actually live in those parts of town. The NAACP in particular has requested that the officers involved with the shooting be named, and that any surveillance footage from the incident be made available to the public.
Locals say that the shooting and the resulting protests were a long time coming.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson,” Jason Sole said, an associate professor at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter. “Well, that bullet was fired last night.”
A rally began at 3 pm on Sunday, then continued into the evening with approximately 250 people. College student Mica Grimm says she and her fellow protestors plan to occupy the local police station for weeks if necessary once the police officers involved are arrested or indicted for Clark’s shooting. Raeisha William, a member of the Minneapolis NAACP echoed Grimm’s statements, saying that she wouldn’t budge from the police station until the names of the officers behind the shooting are made public.
“We’re here because police officers have gotten away with murder for so long,” Grimm said. “[W]e’re tired of it.”