Minneapolis police moved to forcibly evict Black Lives Matter protesters who had camped out in front of the Fourth Precinct police station early this morning. The protesters had vowed to remain at the police station until an officer was arrested for the death of Jamar Clark, a Black man who was allegedly shot while handcuffed. Apart from facing the elements, the activists survived a shooting by white supremacists in November. Four Minnesota men have been arrested and charged for the attack.
According to The Star Tribune, officers issued dispersal orders at 4 a.m. and met little resistance, although eight arrests were made. The raid was also documented on Twitter under the hashtag #4thPrecinctShutdown.
Local Black Lives Matter activists called the raid “military style.”
Activist Deray McKeeson tweeted:
.@MayorHodges, you’ve destroyed the items at the #4thPrecinctShutDown but you can’t destroy the spirit & purpose of the protestors.
— deray mckesson (@deray) December 3, 2015
According to The Star Tribune, city dump trucks carried away blankets, tents, food and supplies used to make fires. The raid was also covered by Unicorn Riot, an independent media outlet, who streamed and live tweeted footage of officers wearing helmets, riot gear and stocking caps, mingling with protesters and distributing fliers.
8 Arrests Made as #4thPrecinctShutDown Eradicated in Early Morning Raid on #Justice4Jamar Protesters – We were LIVE https://t.co/jHs43jsJQS
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 3, 2015
Police also used a bullhorn to announce, “This is an unlawful assembly. You need to exit this area. … You are subject to arrest if you refuse to leave.”
The Star Tribune reported that some of the protesters responded to the raid by chanting, “Indict, convict, send those killer dogs to jail; the whole damn system is guilty as hell” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis announced they plan to hold a rally today at City Hall. BLM activists said the raid had not changed their original goal, which was to demand justice for Jamar Clark.
“We will converge on City Hall in response to our Mayor and City Council’s continued brutality against peaceful protesters who have endured a white supremacist terrorist attack, police violence, and freezing temperatures to demand justice for Jamar Clark,” said the group. “We reiterate our demands: Release the tapes, appoint a special prosecutor with no grand jury for Jamar Clark’s case, and institute a safety plan to protect Minneapolis resident’s (sic) from continued police violence.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau held a news conference to explain the decision to break up the encampment. Hodges said the encampment had become a safety risk. She also said the dispersal had been “peaceful” and thanked the protesters for not resisting.
According to The Star Tribune, several neighbors had complained about noise, vandalism and blocked streets at a recent City Council public safety committee meeting.