Two people were arrested early Friday morning after dozens of people protested in front of the north Minneapolis police precinct Thursday night, close to where officers on Sunday shot and killed Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man. The controversy had spread through social media Thursday, after an image of a police officer pointing a weapon at U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's son Jeremiah at the protest went viral on Twitter.
Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said in a retweet of the image: “Photo is agonizing for me to see. My son is PEACEFULLY protesting w/ hands up; officer is shouldering gun. Why?”
Jamar Clark is the latest in a series of unarmed black people killed by police in the United States in recent years, fueling protests around the country and rekindling a national civil rights movement. The city's 4th Precinct has been the center of protests since the shooting early Sunday morning.
On Thursday, Ellison said he supports protesters' demands that investigators release video of the fatal shooting.
Last year, after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Keith Ellison had tweeted, “Worried for my sons.”
On Friday morning, the Minneapolis Police Department tweeted early Friday that two men were arrested on suspicion of felony damage to property. Police say they spray-painted walls and windows of a precinct building with profane messages during a protest.
Police said during a Wednesday news conference that demonstrators had thrown bottles, bricks and rocks at officers as they cleared the entrance to the precinct.
"We will not tolerate property damage or any acts of violence against anyone. Public safety must continue to be our number one priority," Police Chief Janeé Harteau said.
A growing crowd of at least 250 people, joining arms and partially surrounding the precinct, chanted slogans including, "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail," and, "Handcuffs, don't shoot." Some protesters have alleged Clark had been handcuffed when he was shot. Police have denied the allegation.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges issued a statement late Wednesday saying she supports protesters rights to demonstrate peacefully. She also urged police to "exercise maximum restraint."
About 20 officers, some wearing riot gear or fatigues, watched from behind barricades police had set up.
Pastor Brian Herron of Zion Baptist Church in Minneapolis criticized the police for coming out in riot gear.
"We don't want another Ferguson," said Herron, a former city council member, referring to the protests and riots that broke out last year after the grand jury announced its decision not to indict Officer Wilson over Michael Brown's death. "They are unleashing something they don't understand. Oh Lord."
The results of an investigation into the Minneapolis shooting will be given to prosecutors in two to four months. A federal civil rights investigation is also underway.
Link to original article from Al Jazeera America