Police in riot gear tear down protest camp in Minneapolis

Officers told about 50 demonstrators outside the police precinct to disperse about 4 a.m. and began tearing down tents about 15 minutes later.

WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS -- Officers in riot gear broke down an encampment early Thursday outside a Minneapolis police precinct where protesters have been demonstrating for nearly two weeks over the fatal shooting of a black man by police.

Officers told about 50 demonstrators outside the police precinct to disperse about 4 a.m. and began tearing down tents about 15 minutes later. City dump trucks carried away tents and supplies. Demonstrators headed by the local Black Lives Matter group have gathered at the site since the Nov. 16 death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark following a confrontation with police a day earlier.

The Black Lives Matter movement emerged nationwide over the past year in response to several police killings of African-Americans.

Clark's brother, Chris Hill, told CBS station WCCO that police handed protesters a note telling them they had 10 minutes to gather their belongings and leave.

Hill told WCCO: "It was so sad to see the destruction of an encampment -- our safe place, our sense of community."

"We're living in a messed up world and if we don't get it right, no one is going to get it right," Hill said. "We're not going anywhere."

Protesters told WCCO that the letter from police claimed items left would be held onto for safe keeping, but so far that has not happened.

Police spokesman Scott Seroka said there were a few arrests, but provided no details.

The Star Tribune reported the eviction notice given to protesters said the department remains steadfast to its commitment to help facilitate demonstrations outside the precinct.

"It is a city building within city grounds and people have the right to peacefully demonstrate or protest," the notice said. But it said that neither structures nor fires will be allowed on city property and that access to the police station must remain open.

Several precinct neighbors upset about noise, vandalism and blocked streets voiced their concerns at a City Council safety committee meeting Wednesday. Patricia Anderson said her daughter's car window has been smashed, bricks have been taken from a wall on her property and she's having trouble sleeping. She said she wants the protesters to leave.

Police say they were responding to an assault call on Nov. 15 in which Clark was a suspect and arrived to find Clark interfering with paramedics who were trying to treat the victim. Police say a scuffle followed and Clark was shot. Some community members have alleged Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, but police dispute this. State and federal investigations are underway.