Jamar Clark death: Demonstrators shut down Minneapolis interstate to protest fatal police shooting
(CNN)Black Lives Matters protesters shut down a downtown Minneapolis interstate, in response to the police shooting of Jamar Clark who later died.
About 200 to 300 people took part in the protest, which closed traffic on Interstate 94 for about three hours Monday night, said Lt. Tiffany Schweigart, spokeswoman for the Minnesota State Police. Fifty-one people were arrested.
Protesters clashed not only with police, but with drivers, some angry enough to try forcing their way through the crowd on the roadway, according to CNN affiliate WCCO. When police arrived and started rerouting traffic off the interstate and unto secondary roads, protesters tried to block that action as well, forming a human chain across the detour.
Schweigart said police were able to clear the highway without force, but squad cars were damaged by rocks and bottles and one officer was slightly injured after being punched in the face by a protestor, who later fled the scene.A group of protesters also demonstrated Sunday night outside a Minneapolis Police Department precinct. Both protests were over the shooting of Clark.
Clark was shot early Sunday morning when police tried to arrest him, according to CNN affiliate WCCO. Officers were responding to a call of a woman being assaulted by a man. While on the way to that call, police were told the suspect was interfering with paramedics.
When police arrived, a struggle ensued and Clark was shot by an officer, said John Elder, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department.
Clark was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died a day later.
Police said Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot; protestors dispute that.
Protestors also want all video of the shooting and the names of the officers involved released. But that may not happen quickly. Investigators want to first talk to the two officers involved in the shooting before releasing their names, said Mona Dohman, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. And neither officer was wearing a body camera.
At a news conference Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, citing the ongoing investigation, wouldn't answer questions if Clark was armed or how close the officers were when Clark was shot.Earlier Monday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges asked for the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office to open a civil rights investigation into the shooting.
Hodges, in a letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office, hoped a federal review would increase "transparency and community confidence in the outcome of this investigation."