Protests continue in Minneapolis after fatal shooting of Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark was fatally shot by an officer of the Minneapolis police department on Sun., Nov. 15. According to reports the incident began early Sunday morning when police were called to James and Plymouth avenues in over a domestic dispute involving Clark and his girlfriend.

Police say Clark was causing interference as EMTs tried to get his girlfriend into an ambulance. A struggle broke out, during which, according to police, Clark was shot by an officer.

Clark was then taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died late Monday night after having been on life support.

Reported witness’ accounts claim that Clark was handcuffed and on the ground before he was shot by the unidentified police officer. As reported by the Star Tribune, Nekelia Sharp, a resident who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting, said an ambulance was called after Clark and his girlfriend got into an argument.

Sharp stated that Clark was handcuffed and then shot after trying to speak to his girlfriend while she was being put into the ambulance. In a video, posted on Facebook by a witness at the scene, one woman can be heard repeatedly shouting, “Y’all just killed that man!”

Police have gone on record saying that Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot. According to a police scanner audio of the incident, posted on the Minneapolis Police Clips Facebook page, an officer is heard requesting all available squad cars, saying, “We’ve got a big crowd; we need a lot of cops.”

The Minneapolis NAACP released a statement immediately following the shooting, calling for an investigation into the incident, and for supporters to mobilize for justice. The statement read: “Jamar Clark was murdered, execution style, by the Minneapolis police department… Upon arriving at the scene, the police placed the victim in handcuffs and slammed him to the ground.”

The NAACP press release quotes Teto Wilson, a North Side community resident, as saying, “The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest.  Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”

Jason Sole, an associate professor at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, was quoted in the Star Tribune as explaining, “We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night.”

A day after the shooting Black Lives Matter protestors helped to organize, along with the local chapter of the NAACP, a shut down of the Minneapolis interstate highway.  A spokeswoman for the Minnesota State police, Lt. Tiffany Schweigart, reported that 200 to 300 people took part in the protest, which closed traffic on Interstate 94 for about three hours on Monday night.  Fifty-one people were arrested at the demonstration. As reported by CNN, when police attempted to redirect traffic protesters formed a human chain to block the detour.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, stated, “The Minneapolis NAACP stands in solidarity with the North Side Community residents in demanding accountability for the egregious conduct of Minneapolis Police officers, when they shot and killed Jamar Clark.” Levy-Pounds stated that the NAACP seeks an independent investigation into the shooting, demands that the officers involved be fired and prosecuted, and that there be a public apology from city leaders for “the police abuse that occurred and how residents were treated following the shooting.”

Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis has issued five major demands. They want footage from the incident released to the public, an independent investigation (not by another police agency), media coverage of the eye-witness testimony and not just the police point of view, full community oversight with full disciplinary power, and for officers to live in the communities they serve.

Mica Grimm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, explained to the Star Tribune that, “We’re here because police officers have gotten away with murder for so long and we’re tired of it.” She explained that Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, along with supporters, planned on protesting outside the Fourth Precinct station for as long as it took until justice was served.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said that the two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid leave. The shooting is now being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is part of the state Department of Public Safety. Mayor Betsy Hodges urged anyone who witnessed or has a cellphone video of the shooting to step forward. Witnesses are urged to call the BCA at 651-793-7000.

Despite the investigation protestors seeking justice continue to mobilize in Minneapolis. James Hill, Jamar Clark’s father, said, “My son wasn’t a bad kid. … The police don’t care, the mayor don’t care, the police [chief] don’t care, because they’re going to cover up for each other. My son’s got to get a stand somewhere, and I’m here to give him a stand.”

Photo: Kandace Montgomery, a Black Lives Matter organizer outside of the the Fourth precinct during a press conference on Monday about the shooting.  |  Matt Gillmer/AP


Chauncey K. Robinson
Chauncey K. Robinson

Chauncey K. Robinson is an award winning journalist and film critic. Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, she has a strong love for storytelling and history. She believes narrative greatly influences the way we see the world, which is why she's all about dissecting and analyzing stories and culture to help inform and empower the people.