BCA Probes Mpls. Officer-Involved Shooting

November 15, 2017 10:18 AM

Protests in the city of Minneapolis escalated as police launched an external investigation after a man, who officials say kept paramedics from treating someone, was shot.

Minneapolis Deputy Chief Bruce Folkens said at a news conference that police were called to the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue North at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday for a report of an assault. The suspect in the assault was keeping paramedics from treating the assault victim and police tried to calm him when they arrived, police said.

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Folkens said a "physical altercation" happened between paramedics and the man. An officer then fired his weapon and hit the suspect, who was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and was in critical condition, police said.

Two officers involved are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Family members confirmed that the man shot was 24-year-old Jamar Clark and that he has died.

According to a statement released by Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-Minneapolis), who represents the area in which the incident occurred, Clark is currently on life support at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Police did not release the man's identity or condition.

Preliminary information shows the man was not handcuffed, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau said at an afternoon news conference. Investigators are now saying it is too early to tell if the man was handcuffed at the time he was shot.

Witness Accounts

Community leaders and witnesses are disputing the initial claims by police. Community leaders said witnesses told them the man was handcuffed at one point.

Nekelia Sharp, a witness, said it started when the man got into an argument with his girlfriend.

"He didn't resist. He did not fight back. There was no struggle and he was in handcuffs when he [police] shot that young man," Sharp added that after police shot the man, they took him out of handcuffs.

Sharp said police shoved witnesses back into their apartments.

"We were literally forced back into our apartment units so we would not be able to talk about the incident that happened. It's not fair." she said.

Another witness, Joseph Gipson, said "police killed him with his hands behind his back."

A video posted on Facebook showed a police officer leaning over the man. Bystanders can also be heard taunting police.

Police didn't say where the man was hit.

Community Reaction

A march of solidarity with the victim began on the corner of James Avenue North and Plymouth Avenue North at 3 p.m.

Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP's criminal justice committee, said many residents of North Minneapolis are upset.

"We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson," he said referring to the shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year of black 18-year-old Michael Brown, which sparked nationwide protests. "That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately," Sole said.

John Martin, a North Minneapolis community activist, said they want to get answers to see what went wrong so they can find closure for the family of the man killed.

“We as a community have to come together, we have to find a way, so we can stop the gun violence in our neighborhood,” Martin said at a news conference with the NAACP and community leaders.

“What a sad day this is, what a sad moment in time this is, when an officer can shoot a man who is handcuffed at point-blank range,” Raeisha Williams, spokeswoman with Minneapolis NAACP, said.

She also called on city council representatives to stand in solidarity with them to say that this is "no longer OK." Williams also called on Mayor Betsy Hodges.

“Had this happened at Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, I guarantee that she would be there right now,” Williams said.

Hodges and Harteau held an open-to-the-public listening session about the shooting at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Minneapolis Urban League, located at 2100 Plymouth Avenue North.

External Investigation

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal is investigating the shooting.

“We don’t know the timeline of that investigation, but it will be as expeditious as possible and the investigators will follow the facts wherever they lead,” Hodges said at a news conference.

If you have information or video, call the BCA at 651-793-7000.

"We need to know what happened. We need to know the truth," Harteau said. "Everyone involved needs that and deserves that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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