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Jamar Clark taken off life support; dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters arrested

Some protesters refused to leave the streets despite orders from police and state troopers.

Some protesters refused to leave the streets despite orders from police and state troopers.

Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old black Minneapolis resident shot by a Minneapolis Police Department officer, was taken off life support last night.

That news, which comes from statements Clark's family gave to Black Lives Matter organizers, had been expected for some time: Clark had been shot in the head at close range, and was variously reported to be dead or on life support over the previous two days.

But the controversial case of Clark, who was shot early Sunday morning, is very much alive, as evidenced by a large public demonstration Monday night that stopped traffic and led to dozens of arrests. 

City and state officials have been quick to announce their interest in a thorough investigation of his case, and Mayor Betsy Hodges staged a press conference Monday evening to invite a Department of Justice review, as was done in similar controversial killings, including Trayvon Martin's killing in Florida and the Michael Brown shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. 

That's not good enough, say organizers with Black Lives Matter, who have demanded the immediate release of a surveillance video they think will prove that Clark was unarmed, subdued, and in handcuffs at the time a city cop pulled the trigger. (As a police statement put it, an officer, then in a struggle with Clark, "discharged his weapon, striking the subject.") 

Last night, protesters turned up the heat with their most visible, disruptive demonstration yet, shutting down traffic on I-94 for more than an hour to bring attention to their cause. Though they applauded Hodges' call for a DoJ investigation, meeting one of their demands, Black Lives Matter protesters have also called for the video to become public, as well as the names of the police officers involved in Clark's incident. 

Jamar Clark was taken off life support Monday night, according to Black Lives Matter organizers.

Jamar Clark was taken off life support Monday night, according to Black Lives Matter organizers.

More than 300 people turned up at the start of the rally, according to Black Lives Matter, and 51 of them — 43 adults and eight juveniles — still refused to leave when Minnesota State Patrol and Minneapolis cops ordered them to get out of the road. Each was released without bail early this morning. One of the arrested, Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, who posted on Facebook after she was let out of jail, explaining that forcing arrests was not part of their plan originally.

"We did it for Jamar and all of those whose lives have been senselessly lost to police violence," Levy-Pounds. "The time for justice is now. The time for freedom is now. The time for equality is now."

<!———StartFragment———>At the time of the confrontation, Clark was reported to be interfering with the medical transport of an assault victim, a woman, whom Clark was suspected of beating.  A number of eyewitnesses to the scene have claimed Clark was not a threat to police at the time the gun went off, and the immediate aftermath of his shooting led to a standoff with protesters shouting at police and asking why Clark had been shot.