MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton has asked protesters to end their occupation outside the 4th Precinct police station on Minneapolis’ north side.

On Tuesday, the governor said it’s time for them to “move on” and allow residents to regain their neighborhood. The protesters have camped out in front of the precinct since the Nov. 15 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Dayton made the comments on the protesters following a groundbreaking ceremony for a new employment, education and healthy living center in north Minneapolis.

Dayton said it’s time to look at the bigger picture and build the community together. He added that the new center is just a piece of the puzzle in addressing racial disparities in the community — a problem protesters have cited.

Dayton said a timeframe to remove protesters from the precinct is not his decision. He said that’s in the hands of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau.

Some have said the National Guard should be called in to help, but Dayton says that would be a last resort.

The governor also proposed a special session to address racial disparities in Minnesota, citing the poverty rate of 35 percent for African-American Minnesotans — that’s compared to the statewide average of 11 percent. His plan would allocate $15 million and lawmakers would figure out ways to spend the money at a later date.

Republican leaders have not yet agreed to participate in a special session, which could also include economic help for laid off steelworkers on the Iron Range.

On Monday, protesters said they would not leave the 4th Precinct until their demands are met.

Those demands include the release of all video that investigators possess of the fatal shooting and that the case not go before a grand jury. Protesters say that grand juries typically exonerate police officers in fatal shooting cases.

Pat Kessler

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