Protesters against Minneapolis police shooting ousted from city council meeting

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Man killed in police shooting tried to escape troubled past.

MINNEAPOLIS — The troubled past that Jamar Clark struggled for years to escape now hangs over the investigation into his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.MINNEAPOLIS — At least three protesters were removed from a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Friday after they voiced their disapproval over how city leaders have handled the investigation of Sunday’s police killing of an unarmed black man.

But police union representatives point to Clark’s criminal history as proof that he was a bad actor, and they contend he was reaching for an officer’s gun when he was shot. Beyond the domestic assault call alleging Clark had hurt his girlfriend that brought police to the north Minneapolis neighborhood, he spent three years in and out of prison for a robbery conviction.

More recently, he was on probation for threatening to burn down an ex-girlfriend’s house after a bitter break-up and was awaiting trial for a July arrest for fleeing police in a high-speed chase. His death laid bare the tension between Minneapolis’ black community and law enforcement and, the protesters say, exposed deeply embedded societal problems that made Clark’s history impossible to move past. “None of our children deserve to be shot and killed, and then talked about like they are animals,” said Bettie Smith, who joined protesters Monday to discuss her son’s death in a 2008 officer-involved shooting. Mayor Betsy Hodges has met with protesters to try to defuse tensions, but she says releasing video would jeopardize an investigation of the shooting by state authorities.

Mark Dayton met on Friday with Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which has joined protests and pressured for the release of videos that might clarify the shooting. In a letter on behalf of one of the officers involved in the shooting, an attorney and Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll listed some of his past crimes, saying Clark was “not a peaceful, law-abiding citizen.” But when Tim Hoag and his wife hired Clark earlier this year — first to help out with painting and cleanup at their rental homes, then at Hoag’s moving and trucking company — Hoag said they found an energetic yet polite young man, a hard and trustworthy worker with a bright personality and a “million-dollar smile.” Hoag also saw that Clark couldn’t escape the trouble from his past: the familiar signs of a felon recently released from prison, struggling to get his footing.

He cared about having somebody care about him.” But when their relationship soured, she saw a man who snapped while gathering his things from her house after the breakup. He threw a brick through Truitt’s window and threatened to burn her apartment unit down — leaving behind a trail of lighter fluid to prove it, according to court documents.

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