Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Highway To Protest The Shooting Of Jamar Clark
Black Lives Matter activists have been protesting furiously since early Sunday morning, after news broke of the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Police Department officers. And on Monday night, they delivered their message in a way that the public simply couldn't ignore. Protesters shut down Interstate 94 in Minneapolis for hours — an act of civil disobedience which reportedly resulted in 51 arrests, eight of them juveniles.
Blocking freeways is not a new concept, and anti-police-violence activists have done this sort of thing before. Late last year, protesters successfully shut down Interstate 80 in Berkeley, California for a number of hours, resulting in 150 arrests. Some critics complain about how these sorts of actions inconvenience everyday people who're not themselves responsible for the conditions being protested. From the perspective of an activist, however, that's precisely where the power lies. Jamming up traffic because people of your race are disproportionately killed by police officers isn't just a request for attention; it's a demand.
Such acts force average, otherwise-disinterested people to take note by stripping them of their everyday, assumed conveniences. And on Monday night, that's precisely what Minnesota-based Black Lives Matter activists achieved. According to CBS News, they were blocking the freeway at the same time that Clark was taken off life support, resulting in his death.
In this instance, the protesters have three core demands: a federal investigation, the names of the officers involved in the shooting, and the release of any available video of the incident. On the federal investigation part, the gears appear to be turning. But the identities of the officers still aren't known, and no video has yet been released. Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau has stated that the officers were not wearing body cameras, but she hasn't addressed the existence of any other possible footage, whether from dashboard cameras or otherwise. Bustle has reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota BCA for comment.
The Minneapolis Police Department has claimed that Clark was an assault suspect who was shot during a struggle with officers due to his interfering with paramedics trying to tend to his girlfriend, whom they've said was his victim. Conversely, protesters and police violence critics (bolstered by witness accounts) have alleged that Clark was handcuffed at the time he was shot. Police have disputed those accounts.