DOJ Lawyers Will Fly To Minneapolis To Probe Jamar Clark Shooting

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dayton, Ellison Meet With Jamar Clark’s Family, BLM Leaders.

MINNEAPOLIS — The latest in the investigation into the fatal shooting of a black man by Minneapolis police that has sparked days of demonstrations (all times local): U.S. A few dozen demonstrators endured bitter cold on Saturday outside a Minneapolis police station, where they have spent the last week encamped in protest of the killing of an unarmed African-American man. Mark Dayton on Saturday said he would urge federal prosecutors to investigate “any matters…that may have violated the civil rights of any Minnesota citizens.” In a statement released about an hour after Dayton made his remarks, Chief Janeé Harteau claimed that she had “never seen more professionalism from police officers” and said that she “fully” supported her officers’ actions. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 29 years, and I’ve never seen more professionalism from police officers than has been displayed in Minneapolis at the 4th Precinct this week,” said Harteau. “I fully support the actions of my officers. Attorney and a representative of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change for a meeting with the governor about the ongoing protests at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct, where protesters have been camping for nearly a week.

Federal and state authorities are resisting releasing the footage, which is from an ambulance, mobile police camera, public housing cameras and people’s cellphones, because they say it doesn’t show the full incident and making the recordings public would compromise their investigations. NAACP Youth Director Stephen Green sings “We Shall Overcome” at a makeshift memorial for Jamar Clark near Plymouth Avenue, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Minneapolis.

Mark Dayton says that he asked Clark’s family and representatives of the Black Lives Matter group protesting his death to meet with the federal government lawyers, who he says are flying to Minnesota on Sunday. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES LOCAL TELEVISION OUT Dayton’s comment Saturday came as demonstrators maintain their presence at a police station just blocks from where police shot Jamar Clark last Sunday. Over the past year, protests against killings of unarmed black men and women – some videotaped with phones or police cameras – have rocked a number of cities. “There are a lot of us men doing a whole lot of talking … but the men need to make sure that the talk is put into play,” Michael Wilson, 33, said through a bullhorn, imploring other male protesters to take responsibility for their community and families. In his strongest comments yet on the case, Dayton said Saturday that he plans to ask for a federal investigation of any civil rights violations in the police’s response to the protests.

Police Chief Janee Harteau said any investigation into her officers’ conduct “will only confirm the strength of the work my officers did protecting both public safety and the freedom of speech.” At one point Wednesday night, police used a chemical irritant to control the crowd. As Wilson spoke, about 50 fellow demonstrators tried to stay warm in the 20-degree Fahrenheit (-6 C) cold by drinking coffee and huddling around campfires in the middle of the street in front of the station, where protesters pitched about a dozen tents.

The governor had previously said that a demonstration in which hundreds of angered protesters marched onto Interstate-94, blocking traffic, made him “very uncomfortable.” “I will also urge the Department of Justice lawyers and the U.S. Cars brought firewood and food as a few protesters cleaned up trash from the muddy ground and city crews scrubbed profane graffiti off the station’s brick walls.

Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the primary goal of the protests is to see the officers involved in the death of Clark prosecuted based on statements of people who say they saw the shooting. Critics have accused police of heavy-handed tactics, using pepper spray and batons to disperse the mostly peaceful protests that sprung up outside the department’s Fourth Precinct house just hours after the shooting death of the 24-year-old Clark early Sunday. City Council President Barb Johnson, who represents part of north Minneapolis, said that any investigation would show “not only that our officers have done a great job, but that it will show criminal behavior on the part of some protesters.” In a posting on Facebook, Council Member Blong Yang, whose district also is in north Minneapolis, expressed frustration and said “I can’t agree to the [Black Lives Matter] demands. Keith Ellison tweeted a photo of his son at the protest scene with his hands up and an officer with a gun in the background, calling it “agonizing for me to see.” Minnesota Gov. A shaky video that surfaced online earlier this week appears to show an officer bending down to check on Clark, who is lying motionless on his stomach, reigniting the debate over whether the 24-year-old was handcuffed at the time he was shot.

Also Saturday, demonstrators maintained an encampment outside the Minneapolis police’s Fourth Precinct station, marking a full week of protests over Clark’s shooting death. State and federal investigators said they will not release surveillance footage from the scene until the investigation is concluded, over protesters’ objections. Attorney General Vanita Gupta spoke by telephone and reiterated that releasing the video would be “extremely detrimental” to the federal investigation.

After officers used pepper spray to drive back protesters, Council member Alondra Cano wrote the department, asking for a “‘cease-mace’ policy.” Cano and several other council members have at times joined in the protests, earning them condemnation from some of their colleagues. Two people were arrested on charges of felony destruction of property Thursday after spraying paint over a security camera on the precinct’s front wall.

Kenya McKnight also says the family is trying to get a handle on dealing with “the dynamics of a situation” that has included dealing with “police, the community, activists, the government.” Earlier this year, Clark was convicted of a felony count of terroristic threats and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who police union officials accused of not publicly backing officers, said on Saturday that the force would continue to do its best to “to protect neighbors and protesters from violent elements who are out only to do harm.” “During this time, police officers have shown restraint and professionalism under very challenging conditions, and most protesters have gathered peacefully,” Hodges said. “I have asked officers and protesters to continue to exercise restraint and respect as we continue to balance the need to grieve and protest peacefully with the need to ensure everyone’s safety.” Authorities have said it wouldn’t be appropriate to release the video because doing so could taint an investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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