MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More than 50 people were arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest that shut down I-94W in Minneapolis for over two hours. At the same time, Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old north Minneapolis man who was shot by police Sunday, was taken off life support and has died, family members said.
The shooting happened early Sunday morning on Plymouth Avenue North. Police were responding to a report of a man, later identified as Clark, assaulting a woman.
On the way to that call, police were notified that Clark was interfering with paramedics. Police say there was a struggle when they tried to arrest Clark and an officer shot him.
Witnesses have said Clark was handcuffed at the time, but police and state investigators say it appears, preliminarily, that was not the case.
Relatives of Clark told WCCO that he has been taken off life support and has died.
Black Lives Matter held a press conference at 9 a.m. Monday demanding that the video of the arrest be released, as well as the names of the officers. They also called for Mayor Betsy Hodges to ask for an independent federal investigation.
Around 6:45 p.m. Monday, protesters walked onto westbound lanes of I-94 near 7th Street and Broadway Avenue, just north of downtown Minneapolis. As WCCO-TV cameras followed, one protester said, “We’re shutting it down, we’re shutting it down!” Another protester then then stepped between the cameras and him, urging “Don’t talk to white media.”
On the freeway, protesters chanted and blocked drivers from getting through for nearly two and a half hours.
When law enforcement made alternate routes for the drivers, the protesters tried to block them too by making a human chain across the detour.
WCCO-TV’s cameras caught drivers getting into arguments with the protesters, including one who shouted at a protester: “Look at what the f*** you’re doing! Look at what the f*** you’re doing! Get the f*** out of here!” The protester responded: “Go home.”
At one point a driver nearly hit some of the protesters. Other drivers got into arguments with protesters as the crowd marched down an I-94 ramp.
Eventually, police gave the crowd a 15-minute warning calling the assembly unlawful. They then began arresting those who refused to leave.
Roughly a half an hour later, 43 adults and eight juveniles were arrested.
Those arrested were put onto Metro Transit buses and were cooperative, according to State Patrol.
Black Lives Matter said they blocked the interstate after police refused to give them the names of the officers involved in Sunday’s shooting and refused to release video of the incident.
In response to the protests, Representative Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges are calling for a federal civil rights investigation into Clark’s shooting.
The chief of police and mayor of Minneapolis are asking for the Department of Justice to investigate any possible civil rights violations.
“I’ve asked for this because we need all the tools we have available to us. I have spoken to Governor Dayton who agrees,” Hodges said.
“I appreciate and welcome all avenues and resources that help us find the truth so we can be clear on exactly what happened,” Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau said.
Police said the officers were not wearing body cameras, and would not say if other video exists or if there is any reason to believe Clark was armed.
The state said it cannot release the names of the officers involved until they have been interviewed, but did not say when that will happen.