Activists Demand Justice for Jamar Clark, Shot in Police Custody

Like Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Freddie Grey and countless more bodies lying dead as a result of a police encounter, there are two sides in the story of what happened to Jamar Clark, an African American man killed by a gunshot wound to the head in the early morning hours in North Minneapolis. According to police, Clark was shot during a scuffle with local police, grabbing for their gun while they attempted to arrest him as he interfered with an ambulance that was providing care to a woman he may or may not have hurt in a domestic violence situation. According to street witnesses, Clark was on the ground, handcuffed, when an officer shot him and took his life.

Like far too many deaths in the last two years, these stories are both vying to become the official version of events, the acceptable public account of what occurred on a North Minneapolis street. The police narrative of a black man who may have assaulted a woman, and at the very least was interfering with an attempt to provide her with medical assistance, whom officers were forced to struggle to contain until deadly force became necessary, is the official statement coming from the Minneapolis 4th precinct. Police bring up Clark’s past criminal activityandprevious jail sentences, as if his past somehow plays a factor into whether he could not be arrested without a fatal bullet to his head.

Eye witnesses give a version of a Clark that was subdued and in handcuffs, yet still shot. “One of the cops had his knee in his back and the other cop was kind of straddling him in an awkward type position. But they had complete control of him. I didn’t see him fighting, I didn’t seem him resisting,” barbershop owner Teto Wilson told CNN. “I saw a still body laying on the ground restrained. Like I said, maybe about a minute after that, that’s when the shot went off.” Wilson told CNN he couldn’t see which officer shot Clark but added, “There was no reason to shoot him.”

In the week since the death of Clark, local Black Lives Matter activists have encamped at the precinct, demanding justice and an outside investigation into his death. Together they shut down the local interstate to draw attention to the foot dragging of those in authority who may have video that shows exactly what occurred during Clark’s arrest and death. They have been joined in their cry for an outside investigation by Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who represents a portion of Minneapolis, and who saw his own son face an officer’s gun during one of the protests.

The protesters, the Congressman, many Minneapolis city council members, and the Minneapolis NAACP all ask for an independent investigation, preferably conducted by the federal government, and the release of all tapes that could show exactly what happened during the shooting. Bolstering their claim that the department may not be telling the full truth, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis points to a short video that has recently surfaced that they believe shows Clark in handcuffs on the ground, belying the claim that he was un-cuffed and reaching for an officer’s gun.

“Investigators so far have confirmed Clark was unarmed, handcuffs were found at the scene, and they are trying to determine whether Clark was wearing them at the time he was shot,” they said in a statement accompanying the video release. “We demand that the officers involved be directly prosecuted without involving a grand jury given that over 97% of cases involving police killings end without indictment. If these officers are guilty they must be punished accordingly.” The group asks that others who may have recorded the scene come forward, especially as officials refuse to release their own videos.

The U.S. Justice Department are now coming to to Minneapolis to begin an investigation, but still justice often moves slowly when it comes to death in police custody. It has been a year since Cleveland police shot unarmed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and even now the city claims the pre-teen was partially responsible for his own death. Without the release of video showing that officers drove in and immediately fired, that narrative may even be believed by the general public.

We still do not know all of the details of what truly happened to Jamar Clark, and we won’t until a real, outside, non-biased investigation occurs, and the tapes from the incident are all released. That needs to occur before we can even begin to find justice for Jamar.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

121 comments

Andrelene Babbitt

Police departments will NEVER voluntarily release their videos or those they confiscated if the video shows that the police were in the wrong. In all of these cases, the Federal government needs to become involved IMMEDIATELY before any of the evidence disappears!

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Christine J.
Christine J2 years ago

I'd like to know what happened to the woman who was the victim of the domestic violence.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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M.N. J.
M.N. J3 years ago

Body cameras. The police unions should be DEMANDING them nationwide, since they always maintain their union members have done no wrong. They should welcome the opportunity to prove their case.

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Peter Blattner
Peter Blattner3 years ago

I have a Dream: Equal rights for all, whether black or white, mens or womens gays or lesbians! Respect and mutual respect, kindness and tolerance! ♥ ♥ ♥

Ich habe ein Traum: Gleiche Rechte für alle, egal ob Schwarze oder Weisse, Frauen oder Männer, Schwule und Lesben! Respekt und gegenseitiger Respekt, Tolleranz und, Freundlichkeit! ♥ ♥ ♥

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Elizabeth O.
Elizabeth O3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

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Jennifer M.
Jennifer M3 years ago

RIP

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Beata Turzová
Beata Turzová3 years ago

Smutné - nepochopiteľné - hrozné

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Awful.

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

We can never trust anything the police say. The police internal affairs just sweeps every crime under the rug, and defends the police. Until we get outside public agencies to review every incident of police brutality, the police will just circle the wagons, invoke the blue wall of silence, and continue to lie as they always do about their excessive violence.

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