Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis took to the streets on Sunday to protest the police shooting of an unarmed black man who, according to some witnesses, was already in handcuffs when the cops opened fire.
The man was shot during a midday altercation on the street, as police officers reportedly tried to stop him from interfering with a paramedic crew assisting a victim of an assault. The cops say the man was the suspected perpetrator of the assault.
Details about the incident remain murky. Witnesses say that the man was not resisting and was actually already handcuffed when the gunshots were fired. Some bystanders say he wasn’t interfering with paramedics and appeared to be trying to speak with the injured woman before she was transported to the hospital. Police officials, meanwhile, say their “preliminary information” about the event suggests the man was not in handcuffs.
Although the police have not released the man’s name, the Minneapolis NAACP has identified him as 23-year-old Jamar Clark. According to his family members, the “execution style” shooting left him brain dead.
On Sunday afternoon, an estimated 250 people attended a rally that began at the site of the shooting and continued at the police department’s Fourth Precinct headquarters, where demonstrators demanded to be let inside. A handful of protesters camped out at the entrance of the police headquarters overnight, pitching tents under a large banner emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Matter.”
“We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson,” Jason Sole, the chair of the Minneapolis NAACP’s criminal justice committee, told Minnesota Public Radio News. “That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately.”
The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also plans to conduct an official investigation into the shooting, although some activists are questioning whether that investigation will deliver impartial results. The local chapter of Black Lives Matter is calling for a federal investigation.
More than 850 people have been shot dead by the police this year, according to data collected by the Washington Post.