November 16, 2015 / 5:07 PM / 3 years ago

Protesters demand video, police accountability in Minneapolis shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Protesters in Minneapolis on Monday demanded the release of video footage of the shooting of Jamar Clark, a black man who they say was shot by police while unarmed and handcuffed.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the early Sunday incident. Activists said Clark died, but officials did not identify the person who was shot or their condition. Clark was brain dead, the Star Tribune reported. Reuters was not successful in reaching family members for comment.

Deaths of unarmed black men and women at the hands of police over the past year have fueled criticism over the treatment of minorities by police in the United States and rekindled a national civil rights movement under the banner Black Lives Matter.

Police said that at about 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, they responded to a report of an assault and a suspect was shot by a police officer during a struggle after the suspect confronted paramedics and disrupted their ability to give aid.

The suspect was not in handcuffs during the physical altercation, and was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center, where a representative declined to comment, police said.

However, witnesses said Clark was handcuffed while shot in the head and the body was removed quickly from the scene, according to a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis statement.

The Minneapolis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said Clark “was murdered, execution style” by police, and that witnesses said police handcuffed Clark and slammed him to the ground.

Up to 20 witnesses said he was dead at the scene and his body was “lifeless,” Minneapolis NAACP spokeswoman Raeisha Williams said.

“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest. 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,” resident and business owner Teto Wilson said in a statement released by the NAACP.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Monday demanded answers, police accountability and an independent investigation.

Community members have occupied the entrance to a police precinct in north Minneapolis since Sunday afternoon, with 15 spending the night there, officials of the group said.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said they don not plan to leave until video and the name of the officer are released, and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges launches a federal investigation.

“We are not here for show and tell. We are here for answers,” community activist John Martin said on Monday. “We are going to stay here and find out what happened.”

When the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation is complete, the bureau will turn over its findings to the county attorney’s office for review.

Reporting by Todd Melby in Minneapolis and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Suzannah Gonzales, Editing by Andrew Hay and Sandra Maler

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