Three protesters were removed from a Minneapolis city council meeting on Friday after they voiced disapproval over how city leaders have handled the investigation of Sunday’s police killing of an unarmed African-American man.
The protesters interrupted a regular council meeting to complain about the way the city handles police misconduct issues. A day earlier, a number of council members joined protests over the shooting.
Jamar Clark, 24, died on Monday night after his family decided to disconnect life support. Two officers under investigation in the incident have been identified, but their races have not been revealed.
Clark’s death comes at a time of heightened awareness of and debate in the U.S. over police use of lethal force, especially against blacks. Over the past year, protests against killings of unarmed African Americans – some videotaped with phones or police cameras – have rocked a number of U.S. cities.
“This is atrocious. This is outrageous. They know what’s going on… and they don’t want to hear it,” Michelle Gross, a community activist, said after ejection from the meeting.
On Friday evening, hundreds of people gathered and lit candles during a vigil for Clark outside of the 4th Street Precinct station, two blocks where he was killed.
Demonstrators have remained in front of the station all week.
“We need to be in this fight for the long run. Not for a day, not for a week, not for a month, but until justice is realized and until we get what it is that we seek,” Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the crowd.
Protesters, who have demanded release of video footage of the incident, say Clark was unarmed and handcuffed when he was shot.
Officials have confirmed no weapon was found at the scene and that they are looking into whether Clark was handcuffed.
The police union said Clark had grabbed one of the officers’ guns, although the weapon remained in its holster.
Mayor Betsy Hodges has met with protesters to try to diffuse tensions, but says releasing video would jeopardize an investigation of the shooting by state authorities.
Hodges and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton met on Friday with Brooks to discuss calls to release the video.
There is no police video from dashboard cameras or body cameras, but investigators said there is partial footage from security cameras in the area and an ambulance on the scene.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Dan Grebler, Victoria Cavaliere)