A coalition of community members and organizations calling for the release of the video of Jamar Clark’s Nov. 15 shooting death by police in north Minneapolis — among other demands — rallied and marched for hours Saturday throughout Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar Clark rally included stops at the site of Clark’s death, several detours in downtown Minneapolis and concluded with speakers and song at the Hennepin County Government Center plaza.
“I don’t think they know how serious we are and how dedicated we have become,” said Alexander Clark, Jamar Clark’s cousin.
The rally began with an impassioned speech by Michael McDowell of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, who told protesters that the recent 18-day occupation of the Fourth Precinct headquarters helped change police-community relations.
The event included contrasting messages and tones. Most speakers pleaded for peace, unity and justice. But some chanted profanities directed at Minneapolis police.
The weather was bitterly cold as the group convened at the Fourth Precinct, blocks away from where Clark died. The rally of a few hundred marchers met up with another roughly 100 people outside the HERC Incinerator near Target Field before continuing downtown, where it diverted from original plans to go straight to the Hennepin County Government Center.
“We’re not going to let the police forces lead our march,” Clark shouted into a microphone from the bed of a pickup.
The impromptu detour included stops outside Macy’s on Nicollet Mall and again outside the Juvenile Detention Center.
“We know all lives matter,” said Trey Hosley, a 16-year-old Roosevelt High student. “But y’all ain’t out here being targeted by cops.”
Brettina Davis, a media coordinator for the coalition, said it is also demanding that the officers involved in Clark’s shooting be prosecuted without the case being presented to a grand jury and that federal terrorism charges be levied against the men accused of shooting five protesters outside the Fourth Precinct encampment.
“We just don’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, we marched and now we did our part,’ ” Davis said before the rally. “That’s what a lot of people do these days. You have to keep fighting until we get prosecution of the police.”
The Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter plans to hold a demonstration at the Mall of America on Wednesday. The group protested at the mall a year ago during the holiday shopping season, and police clad in riot gear arrested dozens.
At the Government Center, longtime community activist Mel Reeves urged protesters to continue their efforts elsewhere by bringing signs to Timberwolves games and letting their voices be heard while others seek entertainment at theaters and restaurants.
“We should make them uncomfortable as hell,” Reeves said.