Protesters gather for holiday meal outside police station

Published 10:08 am Friday, November 27, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Protesters and community members dined on donated pies, macaroni and cheese and traditional Thanksgiving fare Thursday outside a Minneapolis police station that has been the site of ongoing demonstrations since an officer fatally shot a black man earlier this month.

Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds said the meal was co-hosted by her organization, Zion Baptist Church and Black Lives Matter. The event was designed to promote healing after the shooting death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Police said they were responding to an assault call on Nov. 15 in which Clark was a suspect and arrived to find Clark interfering with paramedics who were trying to treat the victim. Police say a scuffle followed and Clark was shot. Some community members have alleged Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed. State and federal investigations are underway.

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While some have called for the encampment at the police station to end, Levy-Pounds said it has become a place where the community can gather and heal. The Star Tribune reported that dozens of area residents donated heaters, tents and food for the event.

Video posted on Twitter by Black Lives Matter showed a group of people singing in thanks near a Black Lives Matter banner while dozens of others gathered around bonfires and tents pitched in the street.

The protesters have said they will not leave the encampment until authorities meet their demands, which include the release of video of Clark’s shooting. State investigators have said they have video, but none of it showed the incident in its entirety, and they would not release it until their investigation is complete.

Another event is planned for Sunday. Levy-Pounds said an outdoor church service will be held at the police precinct at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, a state prosecutor has until noon Monday to decide whether charges will be filed against four men who were arrested earlier this week after shots were fired at protesters, leaving five with injuries that were not life-threatening.