Hundreds of people protesting the shooting of a black man by a Minneapolis police officer briefly shut down an interstate highway Monday night, forcing dozens of arrests.
Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Schweigart told the Associated Press that 43 adults and 8 juveniles who refused multiple orders to disperse were arrested after crossing Interstate 94, forcing the northbound lanes to close for approximately two-and-a-half hours. Schweigart said those who were arrested were cooperative and no force was necessary.
Earlier Monday, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges requested a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting early Sunday of 24-year-old Jamar Clark during an apparent struggle. Authorities have released few details about the shooting, which has angered some community members after witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. Police said their initial information showed Clark, a suspect in an assault, was not handcuffed. Clark was taken to a hospital after the shooting, and his family says he is on life support.
Late Monday, Clark's father, James Hill, told KMSP that his son was brain dead.
"Just waiting to pull the plug," Hill told the station. "Waiting for other family to arrive. But he was already dead when he got to the hospital."
Hodges said she had requested the investigation "in the "interest of transparency and community confidence." The state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is already conducting a criminal investigation, but Hodges said the city needs "all the tools we have available to us."
Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, called the civil rights request a step in the right direction, "given that we do not trust Minnesota law enforcement officials to hold themselves accountable."
In addition to the federal probe, protesters have also called for authorities to release video of the incident, as well as the identity of the officer involved. Earlier Monday, a few hundred people gathered at an evening rally outside the same precinct. At least eight tents were set up outside, and a handful of protesters were sitting behind glass doors in the foyer, including one who was knitting.
"We're still not moving until we get that footage," said Michael McDowell, a member of Black Lives Matter.
Authorities said a window at the precinct was broken amid the protests and two police vehicles were damaged, including a marked squad car in which all the windows and a camera were broken, and an expletive was scratched into the hood. One person was arrested in connection with damage to an unmarked police car.
Two officers are on paid leave, standard practice after such an incident. Police Chief Janee Harteau said the officers were not wearing body cameras, but declined to say whether squad car or surveillance video was available, citing the ongoing investigation.
Harteau said she welcomed a federal investigation.
"Everyone involved needs and deserves the truth and the facts," she said.
Gov. Mark Dayton also issued a statement saying he supported the request for a federal probe.
Police said they were called to north Minneapolis around 12:45 a.m. Sunday following a report of an assault. When they arrived, a man was interfering with paramedics helping the victim, police said. Officers tried to calm him, but there was a struggle. At some point, an officer fired at least once, hitting the man, police said.
Ramona Dohman, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the officers' identities would be released after investigators interview them. She declined to say how long the investigation could take.
The protests are just the latest expression of tension between the department and minorities in the city.
Outrage and a civil lawsuit followed the 2013 death of 22-year-old Terrance Franklin, a burglary suspect whom police pursued and shot in a Minneapolis basement. A grand jury declined to indict the officers involved.
In 2014, prominent civil rights activist Al Flowers complained of being the victim of brutality when police served a warrant on a relative at his home. Police say Flowers instigated their aggression.
The rocky relations have led to discussions between police and minorities and the creation of task forces designed to quell concerns. This spring, Minneapolis was selected for a federal Justice Department program to rebuild trust between police and the communities they patrol.
KG Wilson, a peace activist who retired weeks ago after 11 years of building relationships between the community and the police department, said he's hurt by the reaction he is seeing and disagrees with the protests.
"I hate that this is going on right now. My heart is so crushed. I have not stopped crying," he said, adding that some protesters are looking for an excuse to be angry. "I think everything is being gone about in the wrong way. ... Peace is always the way. You can't bring peace with aggression."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.