Minneapolis police shooting puts spotlight on racial tension

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
21 PHOTOS
NTP: Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest
See Gallery
Minneapolis police shooting puts spotlight on racial tension
A protester in a sleeping bag gets some rest at the Black Lives Matter encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. The fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer has pushed racial tensions in the city's small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with the police precinct besieged by the makeshift encampment and many protesters. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Black Lives Matter protesters and supporters march from the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct to the Federal Building in Minneapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. The fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, a black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, has pushed racial tensions in the city's small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with the police precinct besieged by the makeshift encampment and many protesters. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Black Lives Matter demonstrators maintain their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct in Minneapolis. The fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer has pushed racial tensions in the city's small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with the police precinct besieged by the makeshift encampment and many protesters. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A protester has some words with Minneapolis police officers on bikes as a Black Lives Matter protest continued, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A Black Lives Matter supporter, left, tries to keep a Minneapolis police officer from removing a pallet at the BLM encampment at the Fourth Precinct, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minneapolis police guard the entrance to the Fourth Precinct as Black Lives Matter supporters protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jamar Clark's sister, Danielle Burns, right, grieves as she and other family members gathered during a news conference held by the Minneapolis Urban League, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. Jamar Clark was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during an apparent struggle with police on Sunday. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Black Lives Matter supporters hug after Minneapolis police poured water to extinguish an encampment fire as they continued their protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, outside the Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minneapolis police guard the entrance to the Fourth Precinct as Black Lives Matter supporters continued their protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Protesters with covered faces stand with a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis.It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jamar Clark's sister, Javille, center, accompanied by other family members, addresses a news conference held by the Minneapolis Urban League, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. Jamar Clark was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during an apparent struggle with police on Sunday. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Black Lives Matter supporters continued their protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A Minneapolis police officer stands guard atop a vehicle as Black Lives Matter supporters continued their protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at the Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Tiffany Burns, left, is comforted by her sister Javille Burns, as they listen during a news conference held by the Minneapolis Urban League, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. Their brother, Jamar Clark, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during an apparent struggle. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A family member (in red) of Jamar Clark hands a tissue to Clark's sister Danielle Burns as family gathered during a news conference held by the Minneapolis Urban League, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. Jamar Clark was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during an apparent struggle with police on Sunday. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A Black Lives Matter supporter, left, talks to Minneapolis police guarding the Fourth Precinct entrance, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Hundreds of Black Lives Matter supporters continued their protest, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Minneapolis. It was the fourth day of protests of the killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jamine Clark points to the name of his brother, Jamar Clark, on an upside-down flag bearing names of people killed at the hands of police outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Minneapolis. Black Lives Matter demonstrators have set up an encampment at the precinct which is near the site of the Sunday shooting of Jamar Clark by a Minneapolis police officer. Clark has been taken off life support. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct. More than 50 people were arrested during the second day of protests over the shooting of Jamar Clark by a police officer during an apparent struggle. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct. Protesters said they would continue the precinct sit-in until authorities release any video they have of the incident as well as the officer's identity. Clark has been removed from life support. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a Minneapolis police officer has pushed racial tensions in the city's small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with a police precinct besieged by a makeshift encampment and hundreds of protesters in recent days.

Police have tried to improve race relations in recent years, and succeeded in some areas. But some community activists say racial disparities — high unemployment rates for blacks, a disproportionate number of arrests for minor crimes and inequities in housing and the school system — have been going on for so long that Sunday's shooting of Jamar Clark, and the reaction from the community, was no surprise.

SEE EARLIER: Protests erupt after black man shot by police in Minneapolis

"We call Minneapolis a tale of two cities: The best of times if you're white, and worst of times if you're black," said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, and one of 42 people arrested when protesters shut down an interstate highway Monday night.

Protests have continued since then, with tensions escalating again Wednesday night as a crowd outside the precinct office near where Clark was shot grew. Police at one point used a chemical irritant to control the crowd, and a chemical spray was also directed at officers, police spokesman John Elder said.

Police later reported that several officers sustained minor injuries from rocks and water bottles that were thrown and said several squad cars were damaged.

Clark, 24, was shot in the head during a confrontation with two officers. Police said he was a suspect in an assault and was interfering with paramedics trying to treat the victim. Police said there was a scuffle, and Clark was shot.

Some people who say they saw the shooting claim Clark wasn't struggling and was handcuffed. Police initially said he wasn't handcuffed, and the president of the Minneapolis police union, Lt. Bob Kroll, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Clark was "disarming" the officer and was not handcuffed. The state agency that's investigating the shooting, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said one of the things it's looking at is whether Clark was restrained.

The officers involved in the shooting were identified Wednesday as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, both with seven years of experience including 13 months with the Minneapolis department. Their race wasn't released because it's private under state law. Police in Maple Grove, where Ringgenberg worked before joining the Minneapolis force, said he is white.

Members of the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter and other demonstrators want police to release video of the shooting, but the BCA has declined to do so, saying it would taint the investigation. The FBI is also undertaking a civil rights investigation.

The shooting took place on Minneapolis' north side, where the population is predominantly black and generally poorer than the rest of the city. The four neighborhoods nearest the shooting are 53 percent black, according to 2010 census data. The city as a whole is 60 percent white.

Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota, said tension has risen as police have stepped up their presence in high-crime areas. An ACLU study earlier this year found black people are nearly nine times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses in Minneapolis than white people.

"African-American males feel like they are targeted by police because, frankly, they are," Samuelson said.

Levy-Pounds said several high-profile cases have increased mistrust of police, including the 2013 death of Terrance Franklin, who was black.

Franklin was being chased by police in a suspected burglary when he broke into a home. Police said he struggled with officers, grabbing a police weapon and shooting and wounding two officers before he was shot 10 times. A grand jury cleared officers in his death, but Levy-Pounds called it "a case of murder of a young African-American man at the hands of Minneapolis police."

Don Samuels, a black former City Council member who represented the north side, said there's a sense of wariness anytime a black man is shot by police, and people wonder if a white man in the same situation would have been shot. But he pointed to a growing effort by the city and police to confront racial issues head on, to bring more officers of color on the force, and to create review boards to deal with police brutality.

Minneapolis police Deputy Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department and is working hard to build trust.

"Even in the midst of protests and demonstrations, we will continue to have important dialogue and conversations to keep moving forward," he said.

More from the scene:

Protests Rage, Officers Identified in Minneapolis Shooting

___

Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work can be found at http://www.bigstory.ap.org/content/amy-forliti .

___

Associated Press writers Jeff Baenen, Doug Glass and Steve Karnowski contributed to this report.

More on AOL.com:
Honduras says Syrians not part of terror cell, want refuge in U.S
Man who spent 27 years in prison for rape, murder was framed by cops: Jury
Los Angeles County officer found shot to death
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners