Hundreds of protesters shut down northbound Interstate 94 through Minneapolis Monday night reacting to the shooting of a black man by Minneapolis police. In all, 51 people were arrested.
Family members said Jamar Clark, 24, was shot in a scuffle with officers early Sunday morning. Police say he was a suspect in a domestic assault and interfered with paramedics who responded to the scene. Some witnesses allege Clark was handcuffed when he was shot.
Clark’s father, James Hill, told The Associated Press that his son, said to be on life support, suffered a single gunshot wound over his left eye.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Monday she wrote to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and to the U.S. attorney for Minnesota seeking a federal investigation in the “interest of transparency and community confidence.” The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is already conducting a criminal investigation, but Hodges said the city needs “all the tools we have available to us.”
Police Chief Janeé Harteau said the department had spoken with the family of the man who was shot and has reached out to community leaders.
“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,” said Harteau.
Two officers were placed on paid leave, standard practice after such an incident. Harteau said the officers were not wearing body cameras, but declined to say whether squad car or surveillance video was available, citing the ongoing investigation.
Ramona Dohman, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the officers’ identities would be released after investigators interview them. She declined to say how long the investigation could take.
Mario Reed said his brother had been “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.”
“We’re still not moving until we get that footage,” said Michael McDowell, a member of Black Lives Matter.
“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 …,” said Jason Sole, criminal justice chair for the Minneapolis NAACP.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, called the civil rights request a step in the right direction, “given that we do not trust Minnesota law enforcement officials to hold themselves accountable.