Five protesters were shot near a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minneapolis on Monday night.
The shootings follow nine days of peaceful demonstrations outside the city’s Fourth Precinct in response to police-related death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Witnesses say Clark was unarmed and handcuffed when he was shot.
There were no life-threatening injuries among the five protesters shot onMondaynight, according to police. Though, one victim with a gunshot wound to the stomach had surgery.
The Minneapolis Police has arrested three white men in connection with the shooting: Allen Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, 23; Nathan Gustavsson, 21; and Daniel Macey, 26.
Activists said the attacks were racially motivated. A media contact for Black Lives Matter (BLM) Minneapolis, Miski Noor told the Star Tribune “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.” Noor said when they were asked to move on they “opened fire on about six protesters” hitting five of them.
Threats to the group began last week. BLM Minneapolis posted a video on its Facebook page Friday made by white supremacists who threatened protesters.
The post accompanying the video states:
Last night 2 white supremacists, one carrying a pistol, showed up to our peaceful protest at the 4th precinct.After community members on livestream started questioning them they left without incident, then we later found a video of them en route to the protest brandishing a pistol and making comments including “stay white” and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark.
Noor said during a news conference on Tuesday, the police did not take the threats seriously.
“Despite earlier statements from police about the impending threat from white supremacists, the police instead Maced citizen journalists and peaceful protesters,” she said. “They made disparaging comments to those at the protests instead of taking the threat seriously. We reiterate that we have zero faith in this Police Department’s desire to keep our community safe.”
Some at the scene of Monday night’s shooting posted photos on social media using the hashtag #4thPrecinctShutdown:
Lorena de la Cuesta (@LorenadlaCuesta) November 24, 2015
“I abhor last night’s attacks, They have no place in our city,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Tuesday. “I am committed to keeping our entire city and all of our people safe and together we will be one Minneapolis.”
Clark’s brother, Eddie Sutton, said in a statement issued by the office of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison early Tuesday morning that in light of the shootings, his family believed the sit-in demonstrations at the police station should end “out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers.”
Hundreds still marched from the Fourth Precinct to Minneapolis City Hall on Tuesday, continuing the protest of Clark’s killing. Demonstrators later gathered outside of the precinct for a concert in conjunction with the protest. Many remained late into the night.
Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 25, 2015
Witness, Police Accounts and Video
The morning Clark was shot, police and ambulances were responding to a domestic-violence call in which he was a suspect.
Several witnesses watching the incident unfold in the residential neighborhood of James and Plymouth Avenue North have reported Clark was in handcuffs and unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Minneapolis NAACP posted a press release on its Facebook page on Nov. 15 demanding justice for Clark and included a witness account:
“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest,” said Teto Wilson, a Northside Community resident and business owner. “Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”
Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Federation said in a statement Clark was not handcuffed and had gained control of an officer’s weapon, which led to the officer shooting him.
“When police arrived, Mr. Clark refused to show his hands or otherwise comply with police orders,” Kroll said. “While he was being legally detained, he chose to resist, fight officers, and to seize control of an officer’s firearm At no time was Mr. Clark handcuffed, contrary to press reports and social chatter. Contrary to official statements, Mr. Clark was indeed armed, as he had manual control of an officer’s firearm.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton viewed a video taken from the ambulance at the scene. He said Monday the video doesn’t confirm the allegations of witnesses or police because it has no audio.
Black Lives Matter organizers and the NAACP Minneapolis chapter call for the release of the video.
“I will urge that the tapes be provided to the family and released to the public as soon as doing so will not jeopardize the Department of Justice’s investigation,” Dayton said.
The Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has taken over the case. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, at the request of Mayor Hodges, is also investigating the case.