By Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root
The mayor of Minneapolis has called for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting Sunday of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, a Black man who witnesses say was handcuffed when he was shot.
Mayor Betsy Hodges on Monday wrote to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, asking for an investigation in the “interest of transparency and community confidence.”
Hodges also noted that while the state’s Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting a criminal investigation, the city needs “all the tools we have available to us.”
Police responded to an assault call Sunday around 12:45 a.m. and contend that the call was escalated when the suspect returned to the scene and began interfering with paramedics who were attempting to help the victim.
Police officials say officers tried to restrain the man and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, an officer discharged his weapon, hitting the man once, according to police.
Witnesses disagree with the police version of events, saying that the man was not struggling and was in fact handcuffed when he was shot.
Since the shooting, protests have erupted around the city, with demonstrators demanding that police release the man’s name and his health status.
Police have not released the shooting victim’s name, but family members have identified him as 24-year-old Jamar Clark. Clark’s father, James Hill, told AP that his son was on life support after suffering a single gunshot wound over his left eye.
Clark was taken off life support on Monday night.
Protesters set up tents outside the Minneapolis police precinct near where the shooting occurred, and a few hundred protesters gathered at a rally Monday. “We’re still not moving until we get that footage,” protester Michael McDowell told AP.
On Monday evening, demonstrators blocked Interstate 94, stopping northbound traffic, leading to more than 50 arrests, according to CBS Local.
Police Chief Janee Harteau said two officers involved in the incident are on paid leave, and she added that they were not wearing body cameras, but she would not confirm whether footage was captured on officers’ patrol cars.
Harteau said that she welcomes a federal investigation. “Everyone involved needs and deserves the truth and the facts,” she said.