Police shooting elicits reactions

Death of Minneapolis resident raises community concerns


Jamar Clark, 24, was shot by police on Nov. 15 in North Minneapolis, according to the Minneapolis Police Department. The shooting resulted in an ongoing federal investigation and local protests at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), officers responded to a claim of domestic assault and believed Clark to be the suspect.

Clark was shot during a struggle with officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg. He died the next day after doctors removed him from life support. Both officers are on paid administrative leave.

After hearing about the shooting, sophomore Xavier Dante said he felt unhappy with how the officers handled the situation.

“I think it’s completely messed up for police to be doing these things,” Dante said. “They weren’t taught to shoot unarmed people.”

Breanna Freedman, community liaison with the St. Louis Park Police Department, said in an email interview the police department attempts to prevent these incidents by creating local connections.

“The St. Louis Park Police Department stays on the forefront of such situations,” Freedman said. “Positive relationships and trust with the community are key.”

Senior Sam Miller said when he hears people make generalized statements about police, he finds them unfair and confusing.

“Just like with any group, blanket statements are wrong and misleading. Are there bad cops out there? Of course. But most cops are not what many people like to claim they are,” Miller said. “They are risking their lives to protect you and your freedoms. Most of them are good people doing a hard job.”

Protests at the 4th Precinct spanned 19 days after the shooting, until they were halted by police Dec. 3. Protesters then moved to Minneapolis City Hall for a few more hours until they dispersed.

Junior Tori Carroll, who attended one of the protests, said she thinks student activism should be an important part of youth life.

“I feel that (student activism) is important because by taking part in the protests it shows that incidents like these not only affects adults, but children as well,” Carroll said.

Freedman said the police works with local neighborhoods to address similar issues should they arise.

“The police department has been working on a project throughout the past year, of meeting with each of the 35 neighborhoods in St. Louis Park,” Freedman said. “Police staff and officers meet with residents to answer questions and talk about the police department’s mission and values.”

Miller said he thinks people should look at the context when reading about police killings.

“You see all these blank statistics like ‘cops killed this many people’ with no context,” Miller said. “Those deaths could have saved other lives. The killings could have been justified, such as when an individual is trying to harm innocent people. But with no context, cops are portrayed as power-hungry killers.”

Freedman said Park’s police force works to form lasting bonds within the school district.

“The police department has a strong partnership with the schools,” Freedman said. “The department is committed to building and maintaining relationships with the community.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.25.05 PM