Police increase amount of protective gear outside the Fourth Precinct. Photo by Paul Blume/Fox 9.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis police officers began removing demonstrators protesting the officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark from the Fourth Precinct Wednesday afternoon. The demonstrators had been camped out in front of the building since Sunday, saying they intended to stay there until video footage of the incident was released. Chemical irritant was fired from both sides.
Chief Janeé Harteau arrived at the Fourth Precinct early in the afternoon with several dozen officers to clear protestors away from the front entrance, a space they had been occupying for several days.
Without any warning, protestors say officers rushed them -- ripping down an awning, dousing a campfire, clearing the lobby area and reclaiming the front entrance. The move set off more angry protests, which lasted hours.
The tense situation escalated when police in tactical gear arrived in an unmarked van across the street near an alleyway. Protesters confronted them, cursing and yelling.
Some protestors threw rocks and bricks at officers. Officers sprayed a chemical irritant into the crowd, along with several non-lethal marking rounds.
By evening, the situation calmed down until protestors moved to block the entrance of the police parking lot. Officers in tactical gear arrived again. Moments later, police say a man threw a brick at an officer, he was shot with several non lethal marking rounds and then ran away.
At a press conference Thursday, Harteau said most protestors remained peaceful, but there were several anarchists in the crowd that were focused on mayhem.
Harteau said three Molotov cocktails were also fired at police during the standoff.
“We support first amendment rights [and] peaceful demonstrationsm, but we will not tolerate violent actions by anyone that puts the public at risk in Minneapolis," Harteau said.
Both The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI are investigating the deadly confrontation that led to Clark's death. The BCA announced Tuesday they would not be releasing video footage of the incident until their external investigation is complete.
Clark was shot in the head during a confrontation with Minneapolis police outside an apartment on the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue North shortly after midnight on Sunday. Police say preliminary reports indicate Clark was not handcuffed, but witnesses have disputed that claim and say he was in handcuffs and unarmed.