Protest continues without Minneapolis encampment

MINNEAPOLIS -- Black Lives Matter Minneapolis leaders promise to continue their protest of a young black man's shooting by police even after their police station encampment was forcibly ended.

Members of the group Black Lives Matter marching to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis in late November. Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS - Black Lives Matter Minneapolis leaders promise to continue their protest of a young black man’s shooting by police even after their police station encampment was forcibly ended.

Police early Thursday cleared out demonstrators who had occupied area around a North Minneapolis police station for 18 days.
About 50 demonstrators were at the encampment when police gave verbal orders and a written notice to disperse just before 4 a.m., police said. Within 15 minutes, police began to dismantle the camp.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said seven people were arrested for obstructing the legal process and one for trespassing. They were freed within hours.
No injuries were reported.
As they were removed, protesters chanted “Whose street? Our street.”
“It is time to pivot to a moment of working together,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges told a news conference, describing the protesters’ withdrawal as peaceful.
On its Facebook page, Black Lives Matter called the police action violent.
Harteau said police began preparations once it became clear demonstrators would not withdraw. Police secured the station with fencing and will facilitate protests, but not allow a new occupation, she said.
“Though they destroyed the community space we created, they will not destroy our resolve to fight until we get justice for Jamar Clark, or the bonds created across a diverse set of communities,” Black Lives Matter organizer Kandace Montgomery said.
Dozens rallied at Minneapolis City Hall late Thursday at what they called “4th Precinct shutdown eviction rally.”
The protest began shortly after 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot once in the head by a Minneapolis police officer early Nov. 15 when police said he was interfering with ambulance personnel not far from the 4th Precinct station. The Hennepin County attorney’s office says in a court filing that the officer is white.
Protesters pitched tents, a travel trailer was brought in, a warming house set up and fires were started for warmth. Scuffles between protesters and police were common early on, but had slowed down in recent days.
City leaders and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said earlier this week that the encampment needed to end, but Hodges gave protesters no deadline.
Two of the protesters’ three original demands were met - to release names of the officers involved in the Clark shooting and to get a federal investigation - but state and federal officials refuse to release videos from the shooting.
Some witnesses have said Clark was in handcuffs when he was shot but police maintain that Clark was trying to get control of an officer’s gun.

Protesters added two more demands after they began the police station occupation: appointment of a special prosecutor that would not present the case to a grand jury and to “institute a safety plan to protect Minneapolis residents from continued police violence.”
Black Lives Matter officials said in a Facebook post that they “will not be intimidated or silenced.”
Silence was one thing that precinct neighbors said they wanted. Some attended a Minneapolis City Council public safety meeting Monday, saying the protest was disrupting their lives.
Also, police have said that the protest has slowed police response times to emergency calls.
Reuters news service contributed to this story.

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