Minneapolis police clear out protesters' camp site amid heightened tensions over shooting

Nov. 18, 2015: A Black Lives Matter supporter, left, talks to Minneapolis police guarding the Fourth Precinct entrance in Minneapolis.

Nov. 18, 2015: A Black Lives Matter supporter, left, talks to Minneapolis police guarding the Fourth Precinct entrance in Minneapolis.  (AP)

Minneapolis police and protesters had a tense standoff Wednesday night, hours after authorities identified the officers involved in the shooting death of Jamar Clark.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehensive (BCA) in Minneapolis identified the officers as Mark Ringgenberg, 30, and Dustin Schwarze, 28, according to the Star Tribune. Each of the officers have seven years of experience, including the last 13 months with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Clark, 24, was shot in the head during a confrontation with officers Sunday morning. Police said he was a suspect in an assault and was interfering with paramedics trying to treat the victim. Police said after a scuffle, Clark was shot.

Eyewitness account conflict with the police report as some people who said they saw the shooting claim Clark wasn’t struggling and was handcuffed. Police initially said he wasn’t handcuffed, but the BCA said it’s investigating whether Clark was restrained.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the police union, said in an email to the Associated Press that Clark was “disarming” the officer and was not handcuffed.

Police Chief Janee Harteau ordered police Wednesday afternoon to break up the protesters’ camped outside the department’s Fourth Precinct for safety reasons, according to the Star Tribune.

Dozens of officers forced protesters to move to the sidewalk outside the precinct around 1:40 p.m. Minutes later, several armored officers streamed out of a van toting rifles with beanbag rounds and tear gas to reinforce the initial wave of officers.

As police started to dismantle the tent camp, the group grew by the hundreds. Members of Clark’s family urged protesters to remain peaceful, according to the newspaper.

The confrontation between the police and protesters extended into the night as police used a chemical irritant to control the crowd. The chemical was also directed at officers from the crowd, police spokesman John Elder said.

The department tweeted that police used the irritant after officers trying to remove tarps had rocks and bottles thrown at them. Police said they also fired one marking round to identify a man who was throwing bricks.

Members of the Minnesota chapter of Black Lives Matter and other demonstrators have urged authorities to release the video of the shooting. The BCA has said doing so would taint the investigation. The FBI is also undertaking a civil rights investigation.

While tensions rise in Minneapolis, Clark’s family has supported his character despite several convictions for robbery and domestic assault.

Jamar Clark’s sister, Javille Burns, said her brother was the type of man who would give a child a dollar whenever they needed it or give someone the shirt off his back to keep them warm.

Burns said she holds “no ill will” against the police, but she “prays for their souls.”

Interim Minneapolis Urban League President Steve Belton urged any witnesses of the shooting to come forward with information. Belton vowed the black community will remain united to get justice for Clark.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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