Minneapolis

Cops Leave Security Posts Over WNBA Protest Shirts

Photo: via tmj4.com

Photo: via tmj4.com

Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working security at a recent Minneapolis Lynx WNBA game left their posts and refused to return to work following a controversial statement by players on the team.

Lynx players apparently came onto the court wearing warm up shirts that expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, citing the names of two individuals recently shot and killed by police officers in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, respectively.

The shirts read, "Change starts with us. Justice and accountability," on the front and, "Black Lives Matter," on the back.

The back of the shirt also included the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two men killed by law enforcement in recent weeks, as well as a Dallas police emblem.

The officers working the game were offended by the gesture and left their posts. 

Lt. Bob Kroll of the Minneapolis Police Federation supported the officers, saying, "I commend them for it."

Lt. Kroll stated that it is possible other officers may refuse to work Lynx games in the future. "Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games," he said.

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No Charges Against Officers Involved in Jamar Clark Shooting

Photo: Craig Lassig / Reuters via rt.com

Photo: Craig Lassig / Reuters via rt.com

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a press conference on Wednesday that no charges will be filed against Minneapolis Police Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze in the shooting death of Jamar Clark in November, 2015.

The incident garnered widespread public attention with critics of the shooting demanding justice for Clark, who was unarmed.

The shooting occurred after an altercation broke out when Clark engaged officers and paramedics as they were attempting to place Clark's girlfriend into an ambulance. According to police, Clark became belligerent and during the confrontation grabbed for an officer's gun.

Freeman cited evidence, including DNA, that substantiated the notion that Clark had his hand on one of the officer's handgun and was not handcuffed at the time of the shooting.

"This case is not at all similar to others seen around the country," Freeman said, citing the officers' inability to withdraw from the conflict.

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Minneapolis Police Clear Out Protest Camp

Photo: David Joles/Star Tribune

Photo: David Joles/Star Tribune

Minneapolis police cleared out the roughly 50 remaining protestors in front of the Fourth Precinct station early Thursday morning. 

Protestors had been camped out in front of the building for over two weeks in response to the police shooting death of 24-year old Jamar Clark.

Recently, several community members had voiced complaints about the ongoing presence of the protest camp, citing an uptick in vandalism and noise.

Beginning at around 4 a.m., officers issued a dispersal order and gave the protestors time to remove their belongings and leave the premises. Officers and dump trucks then moved in and cleared what remained in the area.

A handful of protestors were arrested for failing to follow the lawful order to disperse.

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Molotov Cocktails Thrown at Police During Minneapolis Protests

Protests over the shooting death of Jamar Clark, 24, by Minneapolis police officers turned violent on Wednesday with bricks and rocks thrown at police.

Three molotov cocktails were also hurled at officers at the city's 4th precinct and one officer was injured when he was sprayed with a chemical irritant.

It was unclear if the individuals who threw the Molotov cocktails were part of the larger protests or an isolated group of violent agitators.

Black Lives Matter took to social media to suggest that officers were provoking the protestors. "We feel there was a lot of tension because of the way protesters and our grieving community were so violently handled by police, who seemed to be intentionally agitating protesters," an organizer told ABC News.

Conflicting accounts of the details into the shooting death of Clark remain. Many protestors insist that Clark was handcuffed when he was shot; however, other accounts suggest that Clark was struggling with police over control of one of the officer's guns.

The incident occurred on Sunday when Clark allegedly interfered with police and paramedics as they attempted to treat an assault victim described as being his girlfriend.

A statement released to the media by Frederic Bruno, an attorney for one of the officers, and Robert Kroll, president of the police union, stated, "While he was being legally detained, Clark chose to resist, fight officers, and seize control of an officer's handgun."

Several video recordings of the incident allegedly exist; however, none have yet been released to the public.

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