MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 40 demonstrators arrested in a protest that shut down a Twin Cities freeway have now been released.
Dozens of protesters blocked traffic on Interstate 94 near 7th Street and Broadway Avenue for about two hours in north Minneapolis Monday night. They’re demanding police release more information about the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.
Clark’s family says they took him off life support last night after a scuffle with two Minneapolis Police officers early Sunday morning. Investigators say Clark had attacked a woman, then got in the way of paramedics trying to help her.
Police say they tried to calm Clark, but got into an altercation.
One of the officers shot him during that struggle. Some eyewitnesses say that wasn’t necessary. They say officers had Clark in handcuffs or at least restrained. Police dispute that. Amid the outrage, the city has asked the Justice Department to investigate.
Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds was one of the first people arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. The Minneapolis NAACP president said she stood strong and spent hours in jail in the name of justice for Clark.
A video, posted on Twitter, showed the moments before she was arrested and taken to jail.
She said organizers warned protesters if they remained on the freeway, they could be placed behind bars. Levy-Pounds said, at that moment, she led the group in prayer and felt a sense of peace and courage.
Protesters call their efforts necessary to get answers in Clark’s shooting and eliminate what they describe as an uneven justice system that targets African-Americans.
“Initially, it was a tough decision because of the fact that I’m a mom,” Levy-Pounds said. “I have to think about getting my son to school … But in that moment, I thought about Jamar Clark. I thought about the witness accounts that I’ve heard. I thought about the fact that that could have been my son. And the emotions, the anger, the outrage rose up in me and I said, ‘I have to risk arrest at this time.'”
Many of the protesters spent about five hours in jail, before being freed this morning. Among the people who were arrested were eight juveniles. The Minnesota State Patrol said Tuesday morning that 42 people in total were arrested, which was a reduction from earlier reports of 51.
More than a dozen people remain at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th precinct on Tuesday, where they plan to stay until the names of the officers involved in Clark’s shooting and any existing video are released.
The BCA says the investigation will take as long as needed to get a complete understanding of what happened.
A spokeswoman says agents are still interviewing people and examining evidence, but won’t elaborate on specifics. Once it’s complete, the information will be turned over to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
The names of the officers involved still have not been released.