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Rep. Ellison Calls For Protests To 'Evolve Beyond Encampment'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rep. Keith Ellison is calling for the protest at the 4th Precinct on Minneapolis' north side to "evolve beyond encampment" following a shooting Monday night where five protesters were injured.

In a statement released to the media, the congressman said conditions at the encampment are not safe and that protesters have already seen many of their demands met.

"[T]he safety of everyone at the Fourth Precinct must be our highest priority," Ellison said. "Monday night's shootings are not the fault of the victims or the Black Lives Matter movement, which is committed to non-violence. But given the events of this week, there's no denying that conditions are unsafe."

On Monday, a shooting happened just north of the encampment as protesters were ushering three alleged white supremacists away. Five protesters suffered injuries, all of which were non-life-threatening.

In his statement, Ellison said the shooting should be investigated as a hate crime. On Tuesday, police arrested three white men in connection to the shooting.

While the congressman has called for the protesters to re-strategize, protesters have recently said they're not going anywhere.

Black Lives Matter protesters have been camping outside the 4th Precinct since Minneapolis police fatally shot 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15. Protesters say officers shot Clark in the head while he was in handcuffs. Police dispute that claim.

The protesters are demanding that video of the shooting be released from the investigating agency, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. That has not happened.

Previously, the protesters had asked for an independent investigation into the shooting and the release of the names of the officers involved. Both of those demands were met.

On Wednesday, Ellison attended Clark's funeral in north Minneapolis.

"I join in the community's mourning for Jamar Clark," he said in a statement, "and for all of the Jamar Clarks who propel the protesters to demand meaningful change."

The congressman said changing racial inequality in Minneapolis will likely take years, not weeks. He urged the community to come together to ensure the future of an "equitable, just, peaceful society."

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