MINNEAPOLIS - A night of calm demonstrations on the city's north side was put on edge for a short period of time early Saturday when city crews and police officers showed up with cement barriers to reroute traffic.
A large crowd turned out for a candlelight vigil and march led by NAACP National President Cornell William Brooks early Friday evening, and the mood was calm but resolved as leaders called for change in the Minneapolis Police Department, and justice for 24-year-old Jamar Clark. Clark is the young black man fatally shot by a Minneapolis Police officer early last Sunday morning.
Things remained calm at the protester encampment outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th precinct building until approximately 3 a.m. Saturday, when rumors of a pending police action on activists prompted one of Jamar Clark's relatives to get on a bullhorn and begin shouting about a police takeover. The rumors also involved a reported sweep of the area to clean up Plymouth Avenue so traffic could get through, so a number of activists took it upon themselves to move fire pits out of the street, sweep the area and pick up garbage to make the encampment neat.
The police sweep never came, but around 5 a.m. city crews showed up with front end loaders and concrete road barricades to restrict and reroute traffic in the area. A KARE 11 photojournalist says a barrier was placed to keep traffic away from a gate to the 4th precinct parking lot. Another was placed to block an alley off Morgan Avenue. The other night a driver was arrested for trying to run an SUV through one of the police parking lot gates.
The arrival of barriers and a bevy of officers to protect those city crews stirred up protesters for a second time, but things quickly calmed and remained that way through the early morning hours.