The heavy scent of campfire hung in the air as smoke drifted down Plymouth Avenue North. For the tenth consecutive day, protesters gathered outside the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct police station Tuesday after Jamar Clark was killed by police. The night before violence struck their makeshift encampment when gunmen shot five protesters who suffered non-critical injuries.
But as the crowd slowly swelled ahead of a 2 p.m. march toward City Hall, so too did the resolve in organizers’ increasingly hoarse voices.
“We ain’t going nowhere until we get justice!” one of them barked through a bullhorn.
Minutes earlier organizers reiterated their commitment to occupying the police station, despite Clark’s brother Eddie Sutton calling for its end out of concerns for protesters' safety following the shooting.
Students at several Minneapolis high schools staged sit-ins and walkouts throughout the day, with many students joining the hundreds in the march. Kevin Dorsey, a North High School student, was among those at the Fourth Precinct.
“It’s good to see all the people, the community together,” the 16-year-old said. “You don’t really see this nowadays.”
As the 2 o’clock march time approached, the crowd — speckled with local politicians and prominent Minneapolis musicians — grew eager. Organizers ushered them through something of a warm-up lap around the station as officers watched through their fenced-in parking lot.
Meanwhile, Matt Sciple sat away from the crowd prepping his sign. Oops. He misspelled “supremacist.” Nothing a little more Sharpie can’t fix. The Minneapolis man has been a regular at the protests, bringing firewood, extra placards, or cookies — whatever he can to be supportive, he says.
As a white man, Sciple says he doesn’t need to worry about police brutality. But the Louisiana transplant came out to show that people of all colors should be upset. Monday night’s shooting didn’t make him think twice about marching.
“It took away one more excuse,” he said as drumbeats thumped behind him. “It made sure that I definitely came and showed solidarity and support.”
Three of the suspects were taken into Tuesday, while a fourth was questioned and released, the Star Tribune reports.
Before departing the station organizers asked a hundred or so people to stay behind to preside over their North Side camp. Aided by police escorts, organizers led the peaceful procession from the bed of a red pickup truck rigged with a PA used for leading chants and bumping music.
“No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” hollered the crowd in unison.
As the crowd streamed into downtown via Seventh Street North, one protester questioned why Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, the officers involved in Clark’s shooting, didn’t use non-lethal force to subdue him the night he was killed in north Minneapolis.
“Mace him. Taze him,” said Earl, who declined to give his last name. “Now look what you got going on. I got one word — justice.”
Protesters snaked their way through the city’s core, marching and dancing along Hennepin Avenue and again eastbound on Seventh Street en route to City Hall. As downtown offices began emptying, onlookers watched from the skyways, bus stops, and bars.
City Hall and the Public Safety building were reportedly both under lock down as the march drew near. The sun was slowly fading behind the buildings when protesters settled outside the federal courthouse across the street from City Hall, before eventually returning to the Fourth Precinct.
“The world is watching us right now,” an organizer told them.