Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges just released the following statement:
“I understand that emotions are running high in the community and across the city. I share many of the emotions that people are feeling in Minneapolis today. I firmly believe in everyone’s right to protest and understand that people want to have places where they can gather and do that peacefully. We also want to ensure everyone’s safety. Chief Harteau and I are asking officers to exercise maximum restraint, and are asking protesters to act peacefully. I thank the many officers and protesters who are doing just that.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau says that late last night after most protesters had left, three molotov cocktails were thrown at officers and a shot was fired east of the station. Officers went out to find them but didn't.
Harteau says that police believe they're dealing with anarchists based on what they saw. She describes them as people from outside the community fostering violence.
Harteau tallies damage to police equipment: 12 squad cars with significant damage, estimated at $25,000; 2 surveillance cameras with $13,000 damage; broken window and fencing; and a retaining wall that is “totaled.”
Harteau says most people last night were peaceful but some were violent, threw bottles, hundreds of rocks and more than a dozen bricks.
Harteau says police used chemical irritant when people were throwing rocks and situation began to escalate. She said dozens of officers were also sprayed by people in the crowd with a chemical irritant.
Minneapolis police union head Lt. Bob Kroll is addressing reporters now.
Mpls. police union: Clark shot as he struggled to grab officer’s gun
The head of the Minneapolis police union says Jamar Clark refused the commands of police officers responding to a help call from paramedics and launched into a life and death struggle for one of the officer’s weapons, which led to one of the officers shooting Clark.
Despite the accusations of some in the community, Clark was never handcuffed in the confrontation, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll told reporters Thursday afternoon.
“The officers arrived, he was noncompliant with verbal commands. Officer went to detain him. He chose to struggle and fight,” Kroll said. “At one point he got ahold of an officer’s gun belt and gun … It was in the holster and he had physical control of the handgrip.” The belt turned, but was not physically removed from the officer, he added.
Kroll said his comments were based on the statements the two officers made to investigators piecing together what happened early Sunday morning and that he was confident the evidence would back it up.
He said he was speaking out because someone in a “leadership position” in the city needed to stand up for the officers. “Their names are being smeared.”
Kroll also criticized city leaders for allowing what he described as the “chaos” outside the 4th Precinct police station.
Officers, he said, are worn down from the confrontations with protesters who “should not have been allowed to pitch one tent, set one fire or block the entryway for one minute.”