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Incomplete video recorded of Minneapolis police shooting

MINNEAPOLIS -- The fatal Minneapolis police shooting of an unarmed 24-year-old black man was caught on video, but authorities Tuesday said they will not release it because the early Sunday incident was not captured in its entirety.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The fatal Minneapolis police shooting of an unarmed 24-year-old black man was caught on video, but authorities Tuesday said they will not release it because the early Sunday incident was not captured in its entirety.

Without the entire episode available on video, Superintendent Drew Evans of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said, witness interviews would be "tainted."

Members of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis pledge to protest at the Minneapolis Police Department 4th Precinct until the video is released.

Some witnesses in the North Minneapolis community where the incident occurred said Jamar Clark was handcuffed and a police officer shot him in the head execution style. Evans said his agency is investigating whether Clark was handcuffed.

Clark was on life support soon after the shooting and died after it was removed. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy said Clark died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

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The BCA will be joined by federal Justice Department investigators in probing the shooting, the Minneapolis police learned Tuesday night.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he supports Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in her request to have the federal government conduct its own investigation into the incident, in addition to the BCA's own probe that likely will take several months.

“I thank the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger’s Office for agreeing to a criminal civil rights investigation into the officer-involved shooting this past weekend,” saidHodges. “I made this request because I believe that it is the best way to build confidence in the process for everyone involved and concerned. I have confidence that our federal partners and the Minnesota BCA will conduct an independent and thorough investigation, and that investigators will follow the facts wherever they may lead. I urge anyone who has information that can aid these investigations to come forward.”

Dayton said he talked to White House aides to get the federal Justice Department to investigate.

The governor, who cleared his schedule Monday to spend all day on the shooting, said he strongly supports the state investigation, but "in a situation like this, where perception is a big part of reality, we have to acknowledge that concern exists and be responsive to that."

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said that two Minneapolis police officers responded about 12:45 a.m. Sunday to a request for help from paramedics who reported a person interfering as they tried to treat an assault victim. Clark was shot during a fight that ensued.

Evans confirmed Tuesday that Clark was unarmed at the time of his shooting, but declined to give further information pending Clark’s autopsy.

Video of the police encounter will not be released, Evans said, because the BCA does not want video footage to “taint the (witness) interviews that are still ongoing.”

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Evans said extensive amounts of video has been gathered by the BCA during the investigation, but none from police dash or body cameras. A mobile police camera, video from an ambulance on the scene and witness-submitted video provide a sense of what happened, but Evans said no one source of video provides a complete account of the altercation.

The shooting led to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis members and other protesters to block traffic on Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis more than two hours on Monday night.

The Minnesota State Patrol on Tuesday said that 34 adults and eight juveniles were arrested for being on a freeway and unlawful assembly. They were released from jail after a few hours.

Twenty-four law enforcement agencies from four counties assisted the patrol in opening the freeway after protesters blocked it for nearly two hours in what protest leaders said was an action that they had not planned.

Witnesses in the heavily black North Minneapolis community where the shooting occurred disagree with how police described the shooting, especially whether Clark was handcuffed.

"There were handcuffs on the scene at the time," Evans said. "And we are still examining whether or not they were on Mr. Clark or whether they were just fallen at the scene,"

“The police want us to believe that Jamar was at fault for this shooting, but we know that is not true because of the several matching eyewitness accounts stating that he was executed,” said Kandace Montgomery, one the protesters occupying the nearby police precinct.

In addition to the video, protesters want the names of the officers involved in the incident released. Authorities say that will happen in time.

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The deaths of unarmed black men and women in encounters with police in the United States over the past year -- including in Baltimore and in Ferguson, Mo. -- have fueled protests nationwide and rekindled a national civil rights movement.

"Our city is not too far from burning like Baltimore because as the violence, disparities and erasure people of color grows, so will the people’s rage and desire for justice,”  protest organizer Michael McDowell said.

Dayton said state troopers and other law enforcement officers showed patience when the interstate was blocked, but protesters had to be removed.

"They put other lives at risk by suddenly appearing on a freeway and shutting it down," Dayton said, calling the situation "extremely dangerous."

The governor said that it is his understanding that officers gave protesters three warnings before they began arrests.

"If people are just going to insist on being arrested, I don't think they (police) are given any other alternative," Dayton said.

Dayton said he urges others from the black community who may not agree with the protesters to come forward.

"I will talk to anybody if it helps to forestall violence," Dayton said, adding that he hopes to meet with representatives of the protesters.

 

Reporter Robb Jeffries and Reuters news service contributed to this story.

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