On Monday night at around 10:40 PM, shots rang out at a Black Lives Matter rally in Minneapolis. Five protesters were shot and three were rushed to North Memorial Medical Center and Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), according to deputy police chief Medaria Arradondo, where they were treated for non life-threatening injuries. The suspected shooters are white supremacists who arrived at the protest with the express intent to disrupt it, according to eyewitness accounts in the Star Tribune and Minneapolis City Pages.
Black Lives Matter spokesperson Miski Noor told the Star Tribune that white supremacist counter-protesters have been a permanent fixture of the BLM protest outside Minneapolis's Police Department's Fourth Precinct that began last week in response to the shooting death of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old unarmed black man who was killed by police eight days ago by a shot to the head.
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According to a video of alleged witnesses uploaded to YouTube by a white supremacist blog, on Monday BLM protesters noticed a few suspicious white men videotaping them. They approached and asked the men to remove their masks and identify themselves, a request met by a "fuck no!" A BLM protester then punched one of the white men in the face, and a chase began, according to the men in the video. When it ended on the corner of the 1400 block of Morgan Avenue North, the three unidentified white men pulled a gun and opened fire into the crowd.
Protester Jie Wronski-Riley was on the scene, and witnessed two people close to him get shot, he told the Star Tribune. At first, he thought the gunshots were firecrackers, unable to believe it could be gunfire. "Surely they're not shooting human beings," he thought, according to the paper.
Officers reported a seeing Silver Chevy Trailblazer or Chevy Envoy leave the scene in a hurry, according to police scanner audio. A statement from the Minneapolis Police Department says officers responded "almost immediately" after the call of shots fired came in around 10:40 PM Monday. (Commenters on the BLM Facebook page claim it took police as long as ten minutes to respond.)
In response to last night's shooting, Jamar Clark's brother Eddie Sutton released a statement asking that protesters end their occupation outside the Fourth District police station: "We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful. But in light of tonight's shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step."
Jamar Clark's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.