MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Six days after Jamar Clark’s shooting, chants of protest have turned to prayer, and police are there, making sure that group stays safe.
Protesters believe Clark was handcuffed when police shot him early Sunday morning. The Police union says that was not the case and an officer shot Clark because he reached for one of the officer’s guns.
As they have since Sunday night, a large crowd is gathering outside the 4th precinct. A community vigil started at around 4:30 p.m. Friday. Police are on alert, after hearing a group may try to disrupt the vigil.
Early in the evening, police posted pictures to Twitter of items they say were recovered at the protest — several different bottles filled with gasoline, made into ‘Molotov cocktail’ explosives.
During Thursday night’s protest, someone used chalk and spray paint to mark the 4th precinct with Jamar Clark’s name and some profanities were also sprayed on the building. Police did say they made two arrests for the vandalism that night.
Earlier in the afternoon, Minneapolis police said they received information that an outside group may cause a disturbance.
Organizers say the night’s start of the weekend means they could see the largest crowd so far. The guest of honor at the night’s vigil is the national NAACP President Cornell William Brooks.
“What we’re seeing, again and again, is a generation of people who are saying enough is enough,” he said at the rally.
He also reiterated the importance of remaining peaceful after a week filled with confrontations with police.
“If there’s no struggle, there’s no progress,” Brooks said.
Brooks’ words lead supporters to march two blocks away, to the scene of Clark’s early Sunday morning shooting.
Around 8 p.m., Minneapolis Police Chief Janée Harteau took questions from protesters outside the precinct.
Police shot Jamar Clark early Sunday morning during an assault call. Investigators say he had attacked a woman earlier and started interfering with paramedics when they arrived to help her.
Police say when Officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg arrived, a struggle broke out. The police union said Clark tried to disarm one of the officers, and had control of the officer’s gun.
That’s when the other officer shot him in the head. The police union says the woman who Clark attacked went to the hospital with a broken ankle and other injuries.
Protesters at the rally made their demands clear — They want to see unedited footage from the night Jamar Clark was shot, which was turned over to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for their investigation.
At around 8 p.m. Friday night, while protesters circled the 4th Precinct calling for the video to be released, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in Minnesota released a statement on why that video can’t be released until the investigation is finished:
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and FBI Minneapolis Division are conducting an independent investigation into whether the death of Jamar Clark violated any federal criminal statutes. As is our practice in conducting investigations into allegations of constitutional violations committed under color of law, experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents are conducting a thorough review of all evidence in this case. That includes interviewing relevant witnesses, reviewing relevant information, and pursuing leads. We are doing so in a manner that ensures the integrity of the investigation and the reliability of the information obtained.
“Release of any evidence, including any video, during an ongoing investigation would be extremely detrimental to the investigation. We are conducting our investigation in a fair, thorough, and expeditious manner.”