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Officials Call For End To 4th Precinct Occupation, Protesters Vow To Stay

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- City and community leaders are saying "enough is enough" and are calling for protesters to end their encampment of the 4th Precinct on Minneapolis' north side.

Citing the health and safety concerns of everyone in the neighborhood, Mayor Betsy Hodges called on the protesters Monady to end their two-week takeover voluntarily.

But protesters responded with a vow that they won't leave until their demands are met. They want the video of Jamar Clark's fatal shooting at the hands of police released.

Some in the community have said Clark was in handcuffs when officers shot him in the head. The police union has disputed that claim, saying Clark reached for an officer's gun during a struggle.

Flanked by more than a dozen elected officials and black community leaders during a Monday morning press conference, Hodges said the two-week-old occupation outside the 4th Precinct must end.

"I do not want to see Minneapolis police move the encampment out," said Rep Keith Ellison, who stood by the mayor on Monday. "But what alternative do we have if they won't voluntarily move?"

They compared a blocked Plymouth Avenue to shutting down France Avenue, University Avenue or Lake Street. They added that smoke from campfires is a health hazard to the area's many elderly.

"We are also in position to hear from the community and the community said, 'Enough is enough,'" said Steve Belton, the interim president & CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League.

The news hit the encampment with a thud.

Black Lives Matter protesters vowed to continue their cause, voicing strong mistrust of elected officials, even black elders.

"If established black leaders who marched with King cared about justice, then this wouldn't have been allowed to go on for so long," said Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds.

Despite a the divide among civil rights groups, other community leaders are standing firm in calling for the end, saying the way to assure justice for Clark is to register to vote, get an education and command respect.

"We repay him by not walking down the street with pants to ankles, we repay him by not looking at each other like a disease but actually looking at each other and speaking to each other," said youth leader and community activist Trahern Pollard.

Hodges would not say how much more patience the city will have for the encampment to end; nor is she saying what happens if protesters don't comply.

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