Minneapolis Police Chief on Jamar Clark Protests: We're Dealing with Anarchists

November 15, 2017 10:32 AM

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau is continuing to warn protesters that violence will not be tolerated after several days of unrest in the city following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

Harteau said violent protesters caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage during Wednesday’s protest at the 4th Precinct station, located at 1925 Plymouth Ave. N.


Harteau said most of the protesters were peaceful, but some were violent and threw bottles, hundreds of rocks and about a dozen large-scale bricks.

Harteau said 12 squad cars have “significant” damage at an estimated $25,000. Two portable cameras were also damaged at an estimated $13,000, and the precinct itself has a broken window, damaged fence and a totaled retaining wall, she said.

“We support the First Amendment right. We support peaceful demonstration, but we will not tolerate violent actions by anyone that will put our public at risk in the city of Minneapolis,” Harteau said. “We will not tolerate any violent actions against my officers, and I will hold those responsible for doing so. They will be held accountable.”

Late at night after many of the protesters left, Harteau said three Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers and that several shots were simultaneously fired just east of the precinct. Harteau said they have not yet identified any suspects but that they are looking at video.

“We believe we are dealing with anarchists based on the flag that we saw,” Harteau said. “We believe people from outside of the community are coming in to perpetrate violence.”

Harteau said officers used marking rounds to help them identify the ones who hit police with rocks, and they ultimately used a chemical irritant once things began to escalate.

Harteau urged peace, citing the police department’s previous willingness to keep protesters safe.

“As you know, we have a history of helping facilitate peaceful demonstrations,” Harteau said. “We’ve done it in the past specifically with Black Live Matter and other organizations.”

“We love Minneapolis,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said. “We love the best of Minneapolis, and the best of Minneapolis is our people – our hearts and our minds and our ability to grieve and our ability to celebrate and our ability to come together and our ability to confront one another when needed with love and dignity and respect.”

"I love this city and I love the north side. But I’ve seen actions that are corrupt. I applaud Mark Dayton for having National Guard troops," longtime community activist Ronald Edwards said.

The protests have been taking place since Sunday, when 24-year-old Jamar Clark was killed during an officer-involved shooting.

The shooting happened at 12:45 a.m. Sunday on the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue North.

Minneapolis police say an officer shot Clark after Clark interfered with paramedics' efforts to treat an assault victim. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Tuesday that Clark died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The two officers involved in the shooting were identified as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. The head of the Minneapolis police union, Lt. Bob Kroll, said Clark tried to disarm one of the officers, prompting the shooting.

Police did not elaborate on the relationship between Clark and the assault victim, other than that they knew each other, citing the active and ongoing investigation. The condition of the woman has not been released. Attorneys and the Presidents of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis say the woman had a broken ankle and other injuries, and this was the second domestic incident Clark has been involved in.

Some community members have alleged Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting, and there will also be a federal civil rights investigation at Hodges' request.

The federal investigation will be conducted by the FBI and will continue alongside the investigation already being conducted by the BCA.

Demonstrators continued to be out Thursday in cold and blustery conditions. Minneapolis Urban League interim President Steve Belton said they are asking for the following:

  • A meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice to get an explanation why a mediation agreement between the DOJ and Minneapolis Police Department in 2003 was abandoned without penalty or consequence.
  • Release of the videos the BCA has.
  • An end to the piecemeal release of information.


Jennie Lissarrague

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