MINNEAPOLIS – Hundreds of people gathered outside a Minneapolis police precinct on a cold Friday night to call for unity and justice after a black man was fatally shot by an officer.
Protesters have been camped at the police station since Jamar Clark, 24, was shot last Sunday. Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, said "coming together shows we can achieve justice." She told Friday's crowd she wants police to treat community with respect, "as if we were members of your own family."
Also Friday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton met with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, national and local leaders of the NAACP, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, and other officials to discuss the shooting and the protests that have followed.
Dayton said the meeting was constructive and officials talked about steps they could take, such as community policing, to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
"I take this very, very seriously. I want to bring a set of proposals to the Minnesota Legislature in the next session," Dayton told reporters. Asked for his reaction to the protests, Dayton said: "The No. 1 priority is peace." He asked those who are grieving to behave in ways that don't cause damage to people's lives and safety.
"I just pray that we will be able to get through this terrible, terrible time, all of us together, in a way that only strengthens or overall Minnesota community," he said.
Police said they were responding to an assault call Sunday in which Clark was a suspect when they arrived to find Clark interfering with paramedics trying to treat the injured woman. They say a scuffle followed and an officer shot Clark, who later died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Some community members have said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed. An attorney for one of the officers involved in the shooting says Clark was not handcuffed, went for an officer's weapon and "had manual control" of that officer's gun.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating. A federal criminal civil rights investigation is also underway.
Friday evening's vigil was peaceful and included attendees from all races. Several speakers called for unity and justice, and many people in the crowd held candles. In between speakers, the crowd chanted: "What do we want? Justice! For who? Jamar!" Speakers also called for the release of videotapes that they hope will provide answers regarding the shooting. After the vigil, the crowd marched a short distance to the site of the shooting.
The BCA has said it has some video, but none of it shows the incident in its entirety. The agency said it is still investigating and won't release the recordings yet because that would taint the investigation.
Associated Press writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report.