MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the first time in nearly three weeks, Minneapolis Police’s 4th Precinct is free of protesters. But calls for justice for Jamar Clark continued Thursday night at city hall and in northeast Minneapolis.
Hundreds of protesters started to rally started around 3:30 p.m., about 12 hours after police evicted the protesters from outside the 4th Precinct on Minneapolis’ north side, which protesters had occupied for 18 days following the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark.
Some 300 protesters showed up at city hall, chanting “Shut it down! Shut it down!” and “No justice! No peace! Prosecute the police!” Some used a marker to leave a message on the windows of Wings Financial inside city hall — a business which lists on its website that it is a sponsor of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation.
Protesters then took their message outside through the streets of downtown Minneapolis, blocking off streets just as rush hour ended.
They then made their way to Elsie’s Restaurant in northeast Minneapolis, where they said a Minneapolis Police Officers Federation fundraiser was going on. However, it was actually a holiday fundraiser for Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, which had ended before protesters arrived around 7 p.m. Some members then made their way one mile north to the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation building, which has been blocked off for days in preparation of the protest. The number of protesters thinned to about 50 by 8:30 p.m.
During Thursday morning’s eviction, in which authorities used Bobcats to remove tents and supplies from the protest encampment, officers arrested eight demonstrators. Mayor Betsy Hodges said the encampment, which shut down a section of Plymouth Avenue outside the 4th Precinct, had become a safety hazard for the neighborhood.
As police officers ordered the protesters to leave, they also brought in barricades to keep them out. The eviction came at a time when the number of demonstrators at the encampment had thinned to about 50.
And while most of the protesters walked away without incident, they didn’t go quietly. They chanted and screamed.
“They can destroy this, but we will be back,” said Mica Grimm, a Black Lives Matter organizer. “We will come back stronger, there will be more people on our side and more people realizing what police are doing in this neighborhood.”
Chris Hill, the brother of 24-year-old Clark, said the protesters aren’t going anywhere.
“We are standing here because we know what they ended up doing was wrong,” he said. “We are standing here ‘cause we are right.”
Shortly after 8 a.m., Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau explained the decision to clear out the encampment, saying it was to ensure public safety.
“We knew that this day was coming, since it was very clear they would not be going on their own,” Harteau said. “So we spent a considerable amount of time, putting together a plan that we felt would be best for all involved.”
While a number of the demands of Black Lives Matter have been met, some key ones have not.
Protesters are demanding that investigators release all video that shows what happened to Clark when he was shot and killed by police in the early morning hours of Nov. 15.
They also want the case to go to a special prosecutor, not a grand jury, which, they say, typically exonerate police.
Protesters and community members say police shot Clark in the head while he was in handcuffs. Police have disputed that claim, saying that the 24-year-old struggled with police and grabbed an officer’s gun.