November 15, 2017 10:40 AM
Minneapolis police arrested eight people Thursday morning as they cleared the protest site that has been near a North Minneapolis police station for 18 days.
Police gave protesters, who had set up tents and were staying warm with fires, about 10 minutes to leave on their own before they moved in wearing riot gear.
Seven people were arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and one person was arrested on trespassing charges. No one was injured. Most of the people arrested have been released.
Thursday’s action was the result of a lot of planning and involved many agencies, Police Chief Janeé Harteau said. The timing of the action was planned for safety and availability.
“It was very strategic with those things in mind.” Harteau said. “Again, public safety is our No. 1 priority.”
Harteau said the police department has spent $750,000 on overtime through Wednesday dealing with the protest.
Mayor Betsy Hodges said the move was needed because it became clear after many conversations with protesters that they would not be moving voluntarily.
“It’s time to pivot to a moment of working together,” Hodges said.
Police announced after 9 a.m. that Plymouth Avenue had reopened between Morgan and Newton had reopened.
The protesters had been at the 4th Precinct station at 1925 Plymouth Ave. N. since Nov. 15 when Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, was shot and killed during a struggle with police.
Clark's supporters say he was handcuffed when he was shot. Police say he tried to disarm an officer during the struggle.
About 4 a.m. Thursday, officers moved people away from the protest area and erected concrete barricades. Crews used heavy machinery to remove tents, blankets and fire pits that have been a fixture in the area.
Defiant protesters chanted and yelled at police as they removed the protest site.
The removal comes two days after city officials asked the group, which is led by Black Lives Matter, to leave the area because it was disrupting the neighborhood by blocking Plymouth Avenue and creating smoke from the fires used to keep demonstrators warm.
Thursday's effort by police is the latest in a situation that has stretched almost three weeks and involved a number of incidents, including the shooting of five protesters near the police station Nov. 23. Five men suffered injuries and four men have been charged in the incident.
Protesters called for a federal investigation, the release of any video of the shooting and a plan to keep protesters safe from authorities.
Harteau said the past 18 days have been "challenging." The priority has been public safety, and every officer has been a professional, Harteau said.
Protesters say they are planning a rally at 4 p.m. Thursday at Minneapolis City Hall.
Dave Aeikens and Cleo Greene
Updated: November 15, 2017 10:40 AM
Created: December 03, 2015 04:40 AM
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