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Hodges Meets With Protesters, Calls Clark's Death 'An Awful Thing'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Protesters of the Jamar Clark shooting met with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Thursday morning, calling for the release of video and a de-escalation of police presence at a northside precinct which saw an overnight clash between officers and protesters.

The protesters and community members met with Hodges at Minneapolis City Hall, and community organizer Ashley Fairbanks, who is with a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter, streamed the meeting on Periscope.

On Wednesday night, Fairbanks was one of the people who went to Hodges' home to ask the mayor to ease the situation at the city's 4th Precinct, where protesters and police came to a standoff after officers cleared demonstrators from the building's vestibule.

Early in the meeting, Hodges called the death of Clark "an awful thing" and began pounding on the desk before her when community members told her they thought she'd be "a different mayor."

Hodges maintained that she's worked every day from her office to address inequality in the city.

The meeting on Thursday had protesters and community members asking several things of the mayor, including that video of the shooting be released and that police at the 4th Precinct stand down and stop using weapons (chemical irritant, tracer bullets) against demonstrators.

The mayor, who on Wednesday said she supported the Minneapolis Police Department's decision to remove protesters from the vestibule of the precinct, said she supported the community's right to demonstrate, but said the situation at the precinct was becoming a public safety issue.

While she did not commit to restricting police officers in any way, she said she'll do her best to make sure authorities "are as good of actors as possible."

In regards to releasing videos, she said the matter was out of her hands.

The mayor said the best decision she could make in this circumstance was to call for an independent investigation, which she did.

"Once the request is made, I want to honor it," Hodges said.

She told the community members that if she calls for the release of the videos, it could compromise the integrity of the investigation.

Since Clark was shot in the head Sunday morning by an officer responding to a domestic situation call, the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and community members have called for the release of video. The community says Clark was in handcuffs at the time of the shooting. Police dispute that.

Earlier in the week, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the state's investigation of the shooting, said it's received partial video of the shooting.

Community members also told Hodges that Clark had been severely beaten by Minneapolis police and was taking legal action against the department. The protesters wanted the mayor to look into video of that alleged incident, which protesters say was captured by police dash cam and hasn't been released.

The mayor told the community members to take that information to the BCA.

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