Chemical Irritant Used on Officers, Protesters during Demonstrations in Mpls.

November 15, 2017 10:31 AM

Protests continued into Wednesday night outside of a northside Minneapolis precinct where protesters have been camped since police fatally shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Sunday.

At one point, protesters lined up to prevent police officers from entering, and police vehicles from approaching, the precinct.

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They continued to chant as officers stood guard outside the building.

According to a tweet, officers fired a marking round—essentially paint—which was intended to hit a man who was throwing bricks.

Police also sent a tweet stating officers were continuing to look for a suspect with a bandaged hand who admitted running from the police and being hit.

Another tweet from the department said officers on the scene reported that officers were sprayed with a "chemical agent" from people who were not officers.

The department then reported that one incident occurred during which a chemical irritant was used and another incident occurred during which an officer was hit by an irritant.

KSTP's Beth McDonough, who was at the scene, reported protesters pouring milk on their faces to dilute the chemical irritant.

According to another tweet sent by the department, chemical irritant was used again after officers attempting to remove tarps said rocks and bottles were thrown at them.

The protestors said they plan to stay vocal and vigilant until videos of the shooting are released.

Wednesday marked the fourth day of protests. Earlier in the day, protesters formed a human chain to block off an area at the precinct where tents were pitched.

View aerial footage of the protesters here.

Protesters shouted at police as officers pulled down an awning at the 4th Precinct, located at 1925 Plymouth Ave. N. Police haven't made any moves against some 18 other tents set up outside the 4th Precinct station, but officers did dump water on a campfire to extinguish it, prompting protesters to chant, "Shame on you!" The fire was quickly re-lit.      

Besides officers blocking off the front of the station, orange barricades were set up on one of the streets in front of the station, and bicycle officers were blocking off the other end.

Reports indicate that the move came after police received calls from people who were unable to access the police precinct Wednesday to make reports.

Read more about the response from the Minneapolis Police Department and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges here.

Police Chief Janee Harteau was seen in an online video saying she needs to have access to the precinct’s entrance, and police said those who will not move will be arrested.

“We have received numerous complaints from residents in our community who have not been able to have access to their precinct to report a crime or meet with investigators when they have already been the victim of a crime,” Harteau said in the online video.

A KSTP photographer said he witnessed a protester throw an object at a Minneapolis police officer and then get arrested after officers chased him down.

Other protesters were seen shouting at the officers removing the tents. Some protesters blocked our KSTP news crews who were there reporting on the events.

Meanwhile, demonstrators shut down parts of Interstate 94 in Minneapolis Monday, and more than 40 people were arrested because of it.

The Minnesota State Patrol says one trooper was assaulted during the protest but was not significantly injured, and several patrol cars were damaged by bottles and rocks.

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Investigation

The Minneapolis police officers who shot and killed a man accused of interfering with paramedics' efforts to treat an assault victim have been identified as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

The Minneapolis Police Department says both men have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the MPD.

Both officers have been interviewed by officials with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. They offered their version of events, recounting what they say happened in the moments before 24-year-old Jamar Clark of Minneapolis was shot.

Read more about the investigation here.

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.

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.

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.

Read the statement Hodges issued regarding requests for external investigations here.

Response to Protests

Clark’s sister says the family appreciates the protests on behalf of her brother but isn't participating. Javille Burns says her family wants justice for brother but also wants peace. She also says he was a peaceful, despite things being said about him.

Meanwhile, Clark's father was at the protests outside the 4th Precinct.

Protesters asked supporters to wear all black Wednesday, and organizers told KSTP reporter Cleo Greene they have no plans to leave the station any time soon.

According to a spokeswoman with the Mayor’s Office, Hodges met with six members of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and two members of Clark’s family from 10:30-11:10 a.m. at Zion Church in Minneapolis, despite information that she met with the organization while the police department cleared the vestibule. The police department began clearing the vestibule at 1:50 p.m.

Members of the organization Communities United Against Police Brutality are planning to attend the Minneapolis City Council meeting on Friday to “demand change from our elected officials,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Video Requests

Protesters are asking anyone with video of the shooting to give it to them, but investigators say this could hurt the investigation.

Instead, the BCA wants community members to turn video in to police first.

BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said several videos have been obtained so far, but none of them captured the incident in its entirety. The videos are from the ambulance rig, a police camera in the area, the Public Housing Authority and individuals with cellphones. Dash cam video and body cam video are not available.

Evans repeated that no video would be released now because it might taint the investigation. Protesters have demanded that video be released, saying they don't trust investigators.

"We don’t want to taint the interviews that may be ongoing with witnesses in this case, and by having the video being public, we would potentially taint portions of the investigation," Evans said.

Anyone with information or video is asked to call the BCA at 651-793-7000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Credits

Jennie Lissarrague & Rebecca Omastiak

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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