ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he’s viewed video of Jamar Clark’s shooting by Minneapolis police, but that the video has no audio and doesn’t confirm either side’s allegations. The video was taken from an ambulance at the scene.
Witnesses have said Clark was in handcuffs and unarmed at the time of the shooting, but the head of the police union says Clark was not handcuffed and had gained control of an officer’s weapon.
"When police arrived, Mr. Clark refused to show his hands or otherwise comply with police orders. While he was being legally detained, he chose to resist, fight officers, and to seize control of an officer's firearm,” Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Federation said in a statement. “Mr. Clark was given multiple opportunities to desist; instead, he chose to engage officers in a life-or-death struggle for an officer's weapon. At no time was Mr. Clark handcuffed, contrary to press reports and social chatter. Contrary to official statements, Mr. Clark was indeed armed, as he had manual control of an officer's firearm.”
The release of video from Jamar Clark’s shooting is a top priority for local Black Lives Matter organizers. Gov. Dayton met with Jamar Clark's family over the weekend, and commented on the release of any shooting video.
“I will urge that the tapes be provided to the family and released to the public as soon as doing so will not jeopardize the Department of Justice's investigation,” Dayton said.
Clark, 24, was shot by police at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 outside of an apartment on the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue N. Officers were responding to a request for assistance from paramedics who reported that Jamar Clark was disrupting their ability to aid an assault victim. Minneapolis police have said Clark was a suspect in the assault. At some point during an altercation that ensued between Clark and the officers, an officer discharged his weapon, striking Clark.
Statement from NAACP Minneapolis
"In the wake of the shooting death of Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed African American man, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minneapolis NAACP stands firm in demanding the release of the videotapes surrounding this incident. Earlier today, Governor Mark Dayton held a press conference in which he stated that he had viewed a portion of the videotape from the ambulance on the scene and called the evidence "inconclusive." The Governor's statement merely reinforces the public's need to see the videotape for themselves and to draw their own conclusions, rather than relying upon the perspective of one government official who is not a trained expert in this field.
"The Governor's statement also disturbingly calls into question the veracity of statements from witnesses who have already cooperated with state and federal authorities in presenting their versions of what happened and may deter other witnesses from coming forward out of fear of not having their stories be believed. This is unacceptable and weakens the potential for a fair, transparent, and balanced investigation. Thus, the Minneapolis NAACP stands in solidarity with those demanding immediate release of the videotapes surrounding this incident. #releasethetapes
"The Minneapolis NAACP also supports the decision of community members to maintain a peaceful occupation outside of the 4th Precinct Police Station in Minneapolis. We have been on the ground witnessing an outpouring of love, food and clothing donations, chanting, singing, and productive ways of channeling rage and grief in light of the shooting death of Jamar Clark by polic. We are committed to having representatives present and on the ground throughout the length of the occupation and we encourage continued food donations, support, and community presence in solidarity with a Northside community that is in pain and has suffered for far too long under the weight of oppression. The Minneapolis NAACP will not rest until justice is served.
"The only way that we can change things is if we come together as a community and continue to demand justice for the most vulnerable and oppressed in our society. Jamar Clark did not have to die. He should be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, just like everyone else. Thus, police practices in the city of Minneapolis must undergo urgent and radical reform. To give hope to the community, a Northside jobs program must be created to close the gaps in unemployment and income for black residents. And finally, we would urge city officials to close the 4th Precinct Police Station and to offer the building to the Northside community to be used as a community center, just as it was in previous decades when it was The Old Way, an important resource that is currently absent from the community."