Time for Jamar Clark protesters to leave 4th Precinct, mayor says

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Rep. Keith Ellison are calling for protesters of Jamar Clark’s shooting to leave the 4th Precinct, saying it is now a safety risk. Mayor Hodges said police officers are getting daily threats and the area has become a hazard for the public.

The mayor said there is no deadline to remove the occupation of the 4th Precinct -- that they are asking people to leave voluntarily. At a 2 p.m. news conference from the 4th Precinct, Black Lives Matter organizer Kandace Montgomery said, “We will not be intimidated by white terrorism".

Speaking at a news conference Monday at the Farview Recreation Center, Hodges emphasized that the city has met the demands of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. Those demands include an independent investigation and the release of the officers’ names. While the mayor wants to clear the 4th Precinct of protesters, she stressed that she wants to keep lines of communication open.

Mayor Hodges and Rep. Ellison were joined by Urban League leaders and north Minneapolis councilmembers Blong Yang and Barb Johnson, who echoed the call to clear the precinct. Yang and Johnson said they have received complaints from constituents about the police station’s "occupation." Neighborhood concerns include the campfires at the 4th Precinct causing breathing problems, particularly for elderly residents in a nearby high-rise. Other neighbors have complained about helicopter noise from media covering the protests.

"We are not against the protest, we are against the occupation,” one Urban League representative said.

Rep. Ellison released a statement on the eve of Thanksgiving, calling for those protesting the shooting of Jamar Clark to “move beyond” the 4th Precinct. After several men fired into a crowd of protestors the night of Nov. 23, Ellison said there is no denying the conditions have become unsafe.

"Protestors and activists should continue to push for systemic change in Minnesota, but it’s time for the protest occupying the 4th Precinct to move beyond the encampment,” Ellison said.

Jamar Clark, 24, was fatally shot by Minneapolis police on Nov. 15. Demonstrators, organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, have been camping out at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct ever since.