Watch CBS News

Urban League Press Conference Echoes Community's Call For Justice In Clark Shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – The Minneapolis Urban League held a media press conference concerning the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark Wednesday morning.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning on Plymouth Avenue North. Police were responding to a report of a man, later identified as Clark, assaulting a woman.

On the way to that call, police were notified that Clark was interfering with paramedics. When police arrived, they say there was a struggle and an officer shot Clark.

Witnesses have said Clark was handcuffed at the time, but police and state investigators said it appears that was not the case.

Around 10 a.m., members of the Urban League and north Minneapolis community held a press conference to discuss the events that have unfolded since the shooting and outline what actions they believe still need to happen.

Urban League president Steven Belton opened the press conference, calling for a prayer from a community member. Belton then spoke about the community's anger surrounding the accounts of the shooting.

He said there have been two different accounts, the official's and the community's, and only one has changed over time. He said that as information has been released, the narrative has changed and has allowed bias to come into the situation.

"By failing to state immediately that he was unarmed, they have invited the assumption that the shooting was justified," he said.

Belton once again called for the names of the police officers to be released. Minutes later the BCA released the names of two officers who were involved in the shooting.

He said the Urban League is also demanding a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice to elicit an explanation for why Minneapolis officials have not joined in any mediation discussions.

Civil rights activist Spike Moss echoed Belton's call for the U.S. Department to call on Minneapolis officials to be active in discussions about ways to curb tensions between the community and police officers.

Moss said the biggest issue with Clark's shooting wasn't whether there were handcuffs present or not; it was about discrimination.

"I don't really care about the handcuffs. That's their argument. I care about the fact that you murdered another black person that was unarmed in Minneapolis," he said.

Among the other speakers were Communities United Against Police Brutality, Michelle Gross, a friend of Clark, and Clark's sister Javille Burns.

Each spoke about the concern for the community and the need for members to come together. Gross once again called for a federal investigation of the crime, as well as the treatment of the witnesses.

Burns said that while the anger is understandable, what her family is really asking for is justice.

"Yes black lives matter, white lives matter, Chinese lives matter, everybody lives matter because God gave it to you. Justice for all is what we need," she said.

Belton and Gross invited witnesses of the shooting that perhaps are too afraid or frustrated to speak to police to visit the Urban League on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Lawyers would be on hand to help prepare statements.

The head of the Minneapolis police union, Bob Kroll, has said he hoped people who say Clark was handcuffed "make a statement to the BCA on that matter."

He added: "If it turns out to be blatantly false, they should be charged with a crime."

Pressed on the timeline for results of the BCA investigation, Evans said two to four months is typical but that the Clark case "has been given top priority."

The FBI also has agreed to conduct a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.