Rep. Keith Ellison, others call for Jamar Clark protests to move beyond 4th Precinct

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday for the funeral of Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police on Nov. 15. Demonstrators continue to camp out at the Fourth Precinct, despite Clark’s family asking for a day free of protests so they could mourn his death.

Others, including Rep. Keith Ellison, have said it’s time for the protestors to move on from the Fourth Precinct.

After several men fired into a crowd of protestors on Monday night, Ellison said there is no denying the conditions at the Fourth Precinct have become unsafe.

"Protestors and activists should continue to push for systemic change in Minnesota, but it’s time for the protest occupying the Fourth Precinct to move beyond the encampment,” Ellison said in a statement.

Rep. Keith Ellison statement

Monday night’s shooting at the peaceful protest in front of the Fourth Precinct was appalling. I pray for the victims, and hope their recovery is quick. I demand the shooters be brought to justice, and I am relieved that three suspects have been arrested. The shooting of five black men at a protest focused on racial equity should be investigated as a hate crime.

I attended Jamar Clark’s funeral today, and I join in the community’s mourning for Jamar Clark and for all of the Jamar Clarks who propel the protestors to demand meaningful change.

Since the occupation of the Fourth Precinct, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has achieved a great deal. They asked for and received an independent investigation by the state and federal governments. They asked for and received the release of the officers’ names. They met with Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Governor Mark Dayton, and lawyers from the Department of Justice. They also received a commitment that the tapes of Mr. Clark’s shooting will be shared with the family and made public as soon as it will not impede the investigation.

I stood behind Black Lives Matter Minneapolis with these requests and have echoed them at every opportunity.

They also held an impactful community march yesterday to raise awareness and show solidarity for justice.

I understand the power of exercising First Amendment rights. This activism has sparked a long overdue conversation about issues facing Black Minnesotans, which I know intimately as a North Minneapolis resident. As we continue our work on these critical issues, the safety of everyone at the Fourth Precinct must be our highest priority. Monday night’s shootings are not the fault of the victims or the Black Lives Matter movement, which is committed to non-violence. But given the events of this week, there’s no denying that conditions are unsafe. Protestors and activists should continue to push for systemic change in Minnesota, but it’s time for the protest occupying the Fourth Precinct to evolve beyond the encampment.

The changes we seek will likely take years, not weeks or months. But together, as a community, we can move forward to ensure that we all have an opportunity to live in an equitable, just, peaceful society.