Protesters have gathered in Minneapolis after an unarmed man was shot by police early in the morning of November 15 . Witnesses say the man was already handcuffed when he was shot by an officer, but police say he was not cuffed.
The local chapter of the NAACP identified the victim as Jamar Clark. He was shot at the intersection of James and Plymouth avenues at about 1 a.m.
Clark, 24, died a day later after he was taken off life support.
The officers have been identified as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, who have both been with the department for 13 months.
Police told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Clark was suspected in an assault, and was interfering with emergency workers trying to provide aid to a victim. He was shot during a physical struggle, police said. The police union says Clark was shot after he tried to take a gun from one of the officers, KARE reports.
But witnesses say Clark was not resisting arrest and was laying on the ground when he was shot, according to the NAACP.
Police said the investigation, being led by a state police agency, is still ongoing, and could take two to four months. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said at a press conference Monday she has asked the federal Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to also investigate the shooting.
On November 23, a group of white men opened fire on protesters about a block away from the 4th Police Precinct, where Black Lives Matter and other activists had been camping for more than a week, demanding action in the Clark shooting. Five protesters were shot, but are expected to survive. Police have arrested one suspect, who has not been named, and are searching for at least two others.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witnesses Say Clark Was Handcuffed When Police Shot Him in the Head ‘Execution Style’
The incident began early Sunday morning when police were called to James and Plymouth avenues in Minneapolis for a report of a domestic dispute involving Jamar Clark and his girlfriend.
Police say Clark was interfering as EMTs tried to get his girlfriend into an ambulance, and a struggle then began. During that struggle, according to police, Clark was shot by an officer.
Witnesses say Clark was handcuffed and knocked to the ground before he was shot, the NAACP says. Police have denied claims that Clark was handcuffed before the shooting, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
A video (watch it above) shows the aftermath of the shooting, as a crowd shouted at the police, with one person saying, “y’all just killed that man.”
According to police scanner audio, there was a large crowd at the scene before the shooting occurred.
You can listen to the police radio audio here:
Teto Wilson, a witness, was quoted by the NAACP as saying, Clark “was just laying there. He was not resisting arrest. Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”
A family member says Clark was shot in the head “execution style,” the Star-Tribune reports.
“Every witness account I heard said he was handcuffed. Every witness account. Put a knee on him and shot in the head. That’s the account I’ve heard from young people, older people, etc,” said Jason Sole, criminal justice chair for the Minneapolis NAACP, told KARE-TV.
Police have released few details about the shooting, saying the investigation is still ongoing.
2. Clark Was Taken to the Hospital & Was on Life Support Until Monday Evening
Police said Clark was taken to a local hospital where he was placed on life support until Monday evening.
Relatives, including Clark’s sisters, gathered at Hennepin County Medical Center, in the seventh-floor intensive-care unit Sunday afternoon. They told the Star-Tribune a physician told them Clark was brain dead when he arrived.
“From witness accounts, Jamar Clark was handcuffed and then shot in the head in front of dozens of witnesses,” Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds said Monday morning, according to City Pages. “Police essentially threw a corpse in the back of an ambulance, and put him on life support at the hospital. They pulled guns on witnesses and sprayed them with mace. They waited 45 minutes before asking people what had happened there. This is one of the worst examples of what we’ve seen, recently, with the execution of unarmed black men.”
Family members say Clark was trying to turn his life around and didn’t deserve to be killed, despite past run ins with the law. He was convicted in 2010 on an aggravated robbery charge and was also found guilty of making terroristic threats earlier this year, but was not sentenced to prison, the Associated Press reports.
“He was trying to get his life back together, he was going to work every day. I was dropping him off every day. He worked at the car wash in northeast Minneapolis and he was just getting his life back in order,” Mario Reed, his brother, told the AP.
His father, James Hill, told the Star Tribune, “my son wasn’t a bad kid. … The police don’t care, the mayor don’t care, the police [chief] don’t care, because they’re going to cover up for each other. My son’s got to get a stand somewhere, and I’m here to give him a stand.”
3. Activists Say ‘White Supremacists’ Shot 5 Protesters a Week After Clark Was Shot
On November 23, police and witnesses say at least three white men shot at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. Five black men were shot, but all are expected to survive.
Black Lives Matter says “white supremacists,” who had previously threatened the activists, were responsible for the shooting.
The shooting was reported at about 10:40 p.m. Officers said they heard the sound of multiple shots in the area of 1400 Morgan Avenue North, a block away from the 4th Precinct. Dispatchers then received multiple 911 calls reporting five people had been shot in that area, police said.
“A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Noor told the newspaper the protesters tried to get the group away from the area, and the men then “opened fire” on about six demonstrators. The shooting occurred in an alley about a block from the 4th Police Precinct, Noor said.
Protesters first gathered at the intersection where the shooting happened on Sunday, and then marched to the police department’s 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis.. Led by the local NAACP and Black Lives Matter, a group has “taken over” the outside and lobby area of the precinct. Police also gathered at the scene Sunday night.
Protesters have said they are willing to stay at the precinct as long as it takes to get justice and have their demands met.
According to a Facebook post, they are demanding five things. They want to see footage from the incident, they want an independent investigation (not by another police agency), they want the media to cover eye-witness testimony (not just the police’s point of view), they want full community oversight with full disciplinary power and they want officers to live in the communities they serve.
The protesters remained at the precinct on Monday, while others blocked traffic on a nearby highway, according to Fox 9 News.
Police arrested 43 adults and 8 juveniles after 300 protesters blocked I-94, the news station reported.
On Wednesday, police moved in and began breaking down a camp set up by the protesters. Police and the protesters were in a tense standoff Wednesday night.
4. Two Officers Are on Paid Leave as the Shooting Investigated by a State Agency
Police said the officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on paid leave, KARE-TV reports.
The shooting is being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is part of the state Department of Public Safety.
“I want to acknowledge that this is a very difficult situation for everyone involved: For members of our community, members of the Minneapolis Police Department and their families, and for the people that are standing here beside me,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said. “”We need to know exactly what happened. We need to know the truth. Everyone involved needs that and deserves that.”
The local police union said president, Lt. Bob Kroll, told Fox News 9, “We’ve got confidence in the BCA. Our officers are cooperating with the process. We want people to remain calm. Let the investigation be completed. I am confident in the end, our officers actions will be justified.”
5. It’s Not Known if the Shooting Was Caught on Video
Police said there are no videos that show all of the incident. Video was captured from the Elks Lodge, located near the scene, and a nearby public housing complex, but it is incomplete.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said it will not release the video while the investigation is ongoing, despite pleas from protesters and Clark’s family for them to do so.
The officers were not wearing body cameras and the shooting was not recorded on dashboard cameras, police said.