On November 15, Minneapolis police officers shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark, who witnesses say was handcuffed at the time, in the head. Police initially said Clark was a suspect in an assault who was interfering with paramedics. They also maintained he was not handcuffed, though he was unarmed. The police union president later claimed that Clark was trying to grab an officer’s weapon. The involved officers were identified as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. The pair joined the force a little over a year ago and are currently on administrative leave.
The mayor called for an independent federal investigation, and police say they have snippets of footage that they will not yet release to the public. But while the circumstances of Clark’s death are investigated, protests are escalating.
Minneapolis police have a historically poor relationship with the black communities of Minneapolis and a lengthy record of racial bias. As one member of the NAACP put it, “Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson.”
Shortly after Jamar Clark’s death, the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called for demonstrations.
— Minneapolis NAACP (@NAACPmpls) November 15, 2015
Occupation of the Fourth Precinct
Protesters began occupying the police department Monday night. A tent city has grown outside the Fourth Precinct in North Minneapolis.
— Belinda Rodriguez (@misssbelinda) November 15, 2015
I-94 blockade and mass arrests
Black Lives Matter demonstrators shut down the highway Tuesday night, causing massive traffic jams.
— northern transplant (@colocha_rachel) November 17, 2015
Activists held the space for little over an hour before police began making arrests. Fifty-one people were arrested, including journalists reporting at the scene. One journalist’s arrest was caught on broadcast:
As some of you may know, I was arrested this evening while covering a protest for Fox 9. I was processed(fingerprints & mugshot) and charged with a crime.Like all the other journalists on the side of I-94 Monday night, I was there for one reason. To do my job. I have no intention of stopping.
Posted by Jack Highberger on Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Activists continued to camp out in front of the police department even after the arrests. The occupation became a space where activists congregate, agitate, and organize. But on Wednesday night, police cleared the camp, inciting violence and clashes with protesters.
Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct. More than 50 people were arrested during the second day of protests over the shooting of Jamar Clark by a police officer during an apparent struggle. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
CREDIT: AP Photo/Jim Mone
A photo caught police pointing a non-lethal weapon at Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) son, Jeremiah Bey. Protesters also tweeted that a 14-year-old boy who was dancing to keep the protests peaceful was also hit with rubber bullets.
— Shazzarazza (@shazza_razza) November 19, 2015
Reporters at the scene said that “chemical irritants” like mace were being used by both sides.
— Tony Webster (@webster) November 19, 2015
— bengarvin (@bengarvin) November 19, 2015