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Black Lives Matter block major freeway in Twin Cities

Freeway confrontation (FB photo from BLM)
Freeway confrontation
(FB photo from BLM)
MINNEAPOLIS – Protesters connected to the Black Lives Matter group in Minneapolis blocked a major freeway in that city Monday night, prompting a standoff with police that led to dozens of arrests.

According to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) group, 51 people were rrested on Interstate 94W as protesters connected to that group demanded release of police video footage of the shooting of Jamar Clark, a young man who was shot by police early Sunday morning. Allegedly, he had beaten his girlfriend and had interfered with police and paramedics who arrived on the scene. Some say he was handcuffed at the time he was shot, which has led BLM to protest police and city officials.

In a statement, BLM says 43 adults and 8 juveniles were arrested for blocking both lanes of highway 94 for over an hour as they demanded video footage of the shooting of Jamar Clark. BLM describes Clark as “a black man killed by Minneapolis Police who neighbors report was unarmed and handcuffed at the time. His family confirmed that he was taken off life support (Monday) night and passed away.”

BLM said that over 300 community members gathered on Monday evening and marched from the 4th Precinct building towards the I-94W on-ramp at Plymouth Ave & Lyndale Ave.

“As the crowd approached the highway entrance, high school aged youth led the crowd onto I-94 where they successfully blocked oncoming traffic and held traffic back for over an hour. State Troopers and Minneapolis Police responded with a dispersal order and eventually arrested the 51 peaceful protesters that were blocking the highway.

“There was at least one protester who was intentionally hit by a blocked vehicle. State troopers present at the scene did not arrest the driver of the vehicle. They have released most of the juveniles that were arrested, except for two. Current reports indicate that protestors are being released without bail. All should be released within the next 1-2 hours.

BLM says the march and highway blockade came in response to an earlier press conference held by Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janee Harteau in which they declined to give the names of the officers involved or release video footage of the incident. Mayor Hodges met one of their three demands by calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation.

Jamar Clark (Facebook photo)
Jamar Clark
(Facebook photo)

“The Police want us to believe that Jamar was at fault for this shooting but we know that is not true because of the several matching eye witness accounts stating that he was executed,” said Kandace Montgomery, one the protesters occupying the precinct and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizer.

“We will continue to occupy the 4th precinct until the public has access to the video of the incident and names of the officers involved.” said Lena K. Gardner, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis organizer.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has called for “community oversight of the Police with full disciplinary powers to combat the culture of policing that causes the consistent violence and tragedy at disproportionate levels for Black communities. This year alone, we have seen the police in Minnesota commit violent against Indigenous, Black, and Brown bodies like Marcus Golden, Tania Harris, Marcus Abrams, and Philip Quinn.

“The State of Minnesota continues to commit acts of violence against Black and brown people while continuing to not hold police officers accountable. Minnesota is claims to be progressive but when it comes to real systemic and structural change, we continue to see some of the worst in the country racial disparities that are only widening.”

“Too many elected officials have remained silent on the violence perpetuated on Black bodies in this state. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges can no longer sell us this empty rhetoric of a thriving Minneapolis. Our city is not too far from burning like Baltimore because as the violence, disparities, and erasure people of color grows, so will the people’s rage and desire for justice” said organizer Michael McDowell.

Video: President of NAACP Minneapolis Nekima Levy-Pounds is on her knees willing to be the 1st arrested with the #Justice4Jamar protest on Interstate 94 – Happening NowDozens still remain blocking the Interstate, police have given several dispersal warnings. There is a massive police presence.Live Blog – Shot While Handcuffed, Minneapolis Protest Demands #Justice4Jamar Video via @MakeHerWay

Posted by Revolution News on Monday, November 16, 2015

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