Crime

Minneapolis Police Arrest Three In Shooting Of Black Lives Matter Protesters

A man speaks to a gathering crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters before they march to city hall in Minneapolis. Photo by REUTERS/Craig Lassig

Minneapolis police on Tuesday arrested three men in the shooting of five people near a police station where demonstrators have gathered for more than a week to protest the killing of an unarmed black man by police officers.

A 23-year-old white man was arrested before midday in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington and two men aged 26 and 21, both white, turned themselves in and were later arrested, police said.

A fourth man, whom police arrested near midday, was released after investigators determined he had not been at the scene of the shooting, which happened late Monday about a block from the protest over the shooting of Jamar Clark, police said.

"As I said before, we are sparing no efforts to bring any and all those responsible to justice," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said.

Authorities said they will release suspects' names if charges are filed. A spokesman said the Hennepin County Attorney's Office was waiting for a case to be presented for consideration.

Police were looking for three white male suspects in the shooting late on Monday near the police station where protests have been held since Clark, 24, was fatally shot on Nov. 15, Minneapolis police said in a statement.

None of the wounds in the Monday shooting of demonstrators were life-threatening, police said.

Miski Noor, representing Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, said on Tuesday that four men wearing masks approached the site where demonstrators have been encamped protesting Clark's killing. When the masked men wouldn't identify themselves, Black Lives Matter protesters escorted them away, but about a half a block from there, they opened fire on the demonstrators.

Kyle Loven, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Minneapolis, said on Tuesday the FBI was aware of the incident, was coordinating with Minneapolis police and would determine whether federal action was appropriate.

He declined to say whether the FBI was investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime. The agency said the public release of videos and other evidence as demonstrators have sought would be detrimental to the investigation.

Clark's brother, Eddie Sutton, said in a statement that in light of the shootings, his family believed the demonstrations at the police station should end "out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers."

Hundreds of demonstrators marched to city hall in downtown Minneapolis from the station on Tuesday afternoon in a rally that stopped traffic along the way and then dispersed peacefully.

DEMONSTRATORS VOW TO CONTINUE

Activists said Monday's shooting has not shaken the group's resolve.

"We will not bow to fear or intimidation," Black Lives Matter's Noor said at a rally by the police precinct building.

Pastor Danny Givens Jr. of Above Every Name Church said the demonstrators would not be scared away. "We ain't going nowhere," he said, using a bullhorn. "This is our precinct.

"We ain't scared of domestic terrorists," added Givens, who is the clergy liaison for Black Lives Matter.

Questions have been raised whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have denied. Protesters have demanded that authorities release videos of the Nov. 15 incident.

Clark died the next day from a gunshot wound to the head. The officers involved are on leave.

On Monday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he reviewed video footage taken from the back of an ambulance and said it does not appear to show conclusively what happened in Clark's shooting.

Authorities have said there was no video of the shooting from police dashboard or body cameras, but investigators are reviewing video from business and security cameras in the area, as well as witnesses' cellphones.

A police union representative has said Clark grabbed one officer's gun, although the weapon remained in its holster.

Clark's shooting comes at a time of heightened debate in the United States over police use of lethal force, especially against black people. Over the past year, protests against killings of unarmed black men and women - some videotaped with phones or police cameras - have rocked a number of U.S. cities.

(Reporting by David Bailey and Todd Melby; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Alan Crosby and Cynthia Osterman)

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