One week after Jamar Clark was fatally shot by police and protesters surrounded the Police Department’s Fourth Precinct station to demand answers and evidence, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis met Sunday to decide what to do next.
Meanwhile, a family member of Clark said funeral services will be held at noon Wednesday at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, 1201 W. Broadway Av. N., with visitation starting at 10 a.m. Clark’s cousin Kenya McKnight asked that there be no rallies on the day of the funeral, saying the family “does not want it to be political.”
At least two dozen people attended Sunday’s meeting in a storefront on West Broadway. It was closed to the media, but Black Lives Matter spokeswoman Kandace Montgomery read a statement.
Members of the group met Saturday with Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and were pleased that he urged that any videos of the Nov. 15 shooting “be provided to the family and released to the public as soon as it does not affect the investigation negatively,” Montgomery said.
The video is in the hands of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has said that any release of the tapes would hinder the investigation.
A grainy 59-second video appeared on the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook page Sunday. The online post says the video shows Clark “moments after he was shot in the head by Minneapolis Police. At the 29 second mark, you can see Jamar’s body appears to be lifeless on the ground with his hands in handcuffs, just as numerous witnesses have reported from day one.” The jerky, handheld video depicts at least one officer with a pistol drawn and bystanders yelling at officers.
Montgomery said the governor also agreed to sit down with members of Black Lives Matter and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change in December “to craft policies.”
Dayton showed “more willingness to work with us,” Montgomery said. “I think he came to the table with more compassion.
“We expect our elected officials to continue to step up to the plate and work in collaboration with the community to end the violence and injustice,” Montgomery said. “This community, particularly the North Side, has been left out of the discussions. Decisions are made without them. So we are calling this meeting to decide what comes next.”
Meanwhile, the divide between city officials became more visible with a flurry of statements late Saturday.
Some City Council members have stood with protesters outside the Fourth Precinct.
Council President Barb Johnson, who represents part of north Minneapolis, voiced her support for police, saying 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, said: “I can’t agree to the [Black Lives Matter] demands. They keep growing and/or changing, and many are not permitted by current law.
“I will fight with my dying breath for anyone’s First Amendment rights, but in my view, the protest at the Fourth Precinct has accomplished the realistic goals: a federal investigation (the speed of which is unprecedented) and the names of the officers. Many of my constituents want: access to Plymouth Avenue; a Fourth Precinct that is fully functional; a good night’s sleep without helicopter noise. … I want what my constituents want, which may be at odds with BLM.”
Police Chief Janeé Harteau applauded the work of her officers, saying an investigation “will only confirm the strength” of their work to protect public safety and freedom of speech.
Mayor Betsy Hodges gave credit to police and protesters, asking both “to continue to exercise restraint and respect.” She added that officers “continue to do their best to protect neighbors and protesters from violent elements who are out only to do harm.”
Attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department were expected to fly to Minnesota on Sunday to investigate events surrounding Clark’s death.
“The U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are working together with prosecutors from Department of Justice Civil Rights on the criminal civil rights investigation. They will be here for a few days,” Ben Petok, communications director with the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Minneapolis, said in an e-mail Sunday.