Pastor says Jamar Clark's death won't be in vain

Protests continue as Jamar Clark laid to rest

MINNEAPOLIS - Several hundred people have turned out for the funeral of a Minneapolis man killed in a confrontation with police, cheering and applauding speakers who said Jamar Clark's death would not be in vain.

Bishop Richard Howell praised protesters for pressure that he said helped get a federal civil rights investigation and the names of the officers involved.

Howell told mourners during Wednesday's funeral that what's needed now is a special state legislative session to address the needs of Minnesota's minority community. To a standing ovation, Howell said: "Jamar, your life did and does have purpose."

The 24-year-old Clark died in what police say was a scuffle with officers responding to an assault in which he was a suspect. Some community members allege he was handcuffed, which police dispute.

Another rally is planned to mark Clark's death, despite pleas from some community members to avoid such actions on the day of his funeral.

Pastor Jayme Ali of God of All Truth Church says protesters will hold what she called an "emergency rally" on Wednesday at the city's north side police precinct near where Clark died.

Ali spoke outside the church hosting Clark's funeral. She says protesters respect the family's wishes but aren't going anywhere "until we get justice for Jamar Clark."

Some community members also say it's time for a protesters' encampment to shut down.

Protesters have demanded that authorities release video of Clark's death. Ali noted that it took more than a year before Chicago officials on Tuesday released footage of the police shooting death of a black teenager. She says Minneapolis protesters will stay "even if it takes 400 days."

Steven Belton, Interim President of the Minneapolis Urban League, says demonstrators camping at the local police precinct have already achieved much of what they wanted, including the names of the officers involved and a federal investigation.

Belton says the vigil must end and that it's time to allow investigations to take their course.

Rep. Keith Ellison released the following statement regarding the shooting on Monday night, Clark's funeral and the current state of the Fourth Precinct protests:

"Monday night's shooting at the peaceful protest in front of the Fourth Precinct was appalling. I pray for the victims, and hope their recovery is quick. I demand the shooters be brought to justice, and I am relieved that three suspects have been arrested. The shooting of five black men at a protest focused on racial equity should be investigated as a hate crime.

I attended Jamar Clark's funeral today, and I join in the community's mourning for Jamar Clark and for all of the Jamar Clarks who propel the protestors to demand meaningful change.

Since the occupation of the Fourth Precinct, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has achieved a great deal. They asked for and received an independent investigation by the state and federal governments. They asked for and received the release of the officers' names. They met with Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Governor Mark Dayton, and lawyers from the Department of Justice. They also received a commitment that the tapes of Mr. Clark's shooting will be shared with the family and made public as soon as it will not impede the investigation.

I stood behind Black Lives Matter Minneapolis with these requests and have echoed them at every opportunity.

They also held an impactful community march yesterday to raise awareness and show solidarity for justice.

I understand the power of exercising First Amendment rights. This activism has sparked a long overdue conversation about issues facing Black Minnesotans, which I know intimately as a North Minneapolis resident. As we continue our work on these critical issues, the safety of everyone at the Fourth Precinct must be our highest priority. Monday night's shootings are not the fault of the victims or the Black Lives Matter movement, which is committed to non-violence. But given the events of this week, there's no denying that conditions are unsafe. Protestors and activists should continue to push for systemic change in Minnesota, but it's time for the protest occupying the Fourth Precinct to evolve beyond the encampment.

The changes we seek will likely take years, not weeks or months. But together, as a community, we can move forward to ensure that we all have an opportunity to live in an equitable, just, peaceful society."


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