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Activists look for answers after police shooting

Activists look for answers after police shooting
Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 19:59:04-05

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Protesters continued to camp at a local police precinct and three activists were escorted from a City Council meeting Friday as community members kept up the pressure for answers following the fatal shooting of a black man by a Minneapolis police officer.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that peace is the top priority going forward. Dayton met with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, national and local leaders of the NAACP, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, and other officials to address the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark and the protests that have been happening in recent days.

Dayton said the meeting was constructive, and officials talked about steps they could take, such as community policing, to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

"I take this very, very seriously. I want to bring a set of proposals to the Minnesota Legislature in the next session," Dayton told reporters. When asked to react to protests, Dayton said: "The No. 1 priority is peace." He said he asks those who are understandably grieving to behave in ways that don't cause further damage to people's lives and safety.

"I just pray that we will be able to get through this terrible, terrible time, all of us together, in a way that only strengthens or overall Minnesota community," he said.

Police say they were responding to an assault call in which Clark was a suspect and arrived to find Clark interfering with paramedics trying to treat the injured woman. They say a scuffle followed and an officer shot Clark, who later died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Some community members have alleged Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed. An attorney for one of the officers says Clark was not handcuffed, went for an officer's weapon and "had manual control" of that officer's gun.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating. A federal criminal civil rights investigation is also underway.

A candlelight vigil and march was planned for 4:30 p.m. Friday outside the precinct headquarters. NAACP national president Cornell William Brooks said Clark's death "is one bad chapter in a bad national narrative of police conduct."

Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality was one of the activists removed from Friday's council meeting after city leaders said they were disruptive. As she was escorted out, she shouted, "We will be heard. You will be held accountable for what you have done to our community."

The activists were advised that the public is welcome to attend City Council meetings, but rules require those in attendance to refrain from disruptions.