Protesters Pressure Minn. Police To Release Video Of Black Man's Death
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
In Minneapolis today, there will be a funeral for Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old African-American man shot and killed during an encounter with police. The shooting has prompted a week and a half of largely peaceful protests. But some demonstrators now say they're concerned about their own safety after five of them were shot and wounded. But as Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports, that violent incident has brought even more people out.
MATT SEPIC, BYLINE: Protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have been occupying the front lawn of the 4th Precinct police headquarters in north Minneapolis for going on 11 days. They've set up a village of tents here, and they're fending off the chilly Minnesota nights with campfires and propane heaters. Last week there were some tense encounters with the police. This week, the scene was much calmer until late Monday night. Eighteen-year-old Wesley Martin says he saw several men who looked like they wanted to start trouble. He was following them out of the protest area when Martin says one pulled out a handgun and shot him in the leg.
WESLEY MARTIN: I get out the car, and all I feel is something go right through my leg. And I'm like - I thought I fell or just something like that. But I went to pull up my pants leg, and all I see is blood leaking down my hands. So I sat down. And after that, I don't remember nothing.
SEPIC: Martin was treated and released. Four others with him also suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Minneapolis police say three white men, all in their 20s, are in custody. Two of the suspects turned themselves in yesterday afternoon. This comes after a Hispanic man who'd been arrested earlier was released. Far from keeping people away, the incident has brought out more demonstrators. Sixty-two-year-old Ralph Galloway, a pastor at a nearby church, says he wanted to come last week, but recent ankle surgery kept him inside. Galloway says he's determined to show his defiance.
RALPH GALLOWAY: I decided to hobble out this evening because of the threat and just to say, you know, we can't be intimidated like that. I showed up as an anti-intimidation presence (laughter).
SEPIC: Protesters have vowed to occupy the precinct until investigators release video from an ambulance that may show what happened the night a policeman fatally shot Jamar Clark. Demonstrators claim officers handcuffed Clark before shooting him. The president of the Minneapolis police union says Clark was never handcuffed and had grabbed the handle of one officer's holstered gun. Clark's brother, Eddie Sutton, is urging demonstrators to break camp before anyone else gets hurt, a sentiment Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton echoed. And Black Lives Matter organizer Michael McDowell says protesters may switch tactics.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL: We may not necessarily stay at the precinct until the tape's released. But we will continue to escalate until the tapes are released.
SEPIC: McDowell says Black Lives Matter has set a date for ending its occupation. But for now, he's not saying when that will be. The group is planning a Thanksgiving dinner at the protest site. For NPR News, I'm Matt Sepic in Minneapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.