Rising to national attention following the death of Missouri teen Michael Brown, the Black Lives Matter movement has been both praised and demonized, in its quest to bring attention to the ongoing issue of excessive force and police brutality against people of color across the country.
With demonstrations currently raging in cities including Chicago, Oakland and more, Minneapolis has also found itself in the spotlight, after Jamar Clark, an unarmed Black man, was killed by two officers on November 15th. While authorities state that he was shot while being legally detained, witnesses including local barbershop owner Teto Wilson insist Clark was shot while handcuffed.
Speaking to CNN Wilson recounted, “One of the cops had his knee in his back and the other cop was kind of straddling him in an awkward position. But they had complete control of him. I didn’t see him fighting, I didn’t see him resisting.” He added, “How is he going for a gun in handcuffs behind his back?”
Now those fighting for law enforcement to be held accountable for their actions are being targeted. Following a string of nightly protests outside of Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct, on November 23rd white supremacists opened fire on the group, resulting in five protesters being shot.Police have arrested three men in connection with the shooting, a 23-year-old white man and two others aged 21 and 26, who turned themselves in. A fourth suspect was released after authorities established he wasn’t at the scene of the crime during the shooting.
According to protester Jie Wronski-Riley the entire chain of events seemed surreal, “I really did think it was like firecrackers or something initially because it was so loud and there was like this acid smell. I thought, ‘Surely, they are not shooting at us.”
Thankfully none of the victims were fatally injured during the callous attack, but it will be interesting to see whether the assault will be treated as attempted murder. Authorities are reportedly considering filing hate crime charges as well. Despite the risk demonstrators have vowed not to be intimidated, though the threats -including shots ringing out again early Wednesday morning – have continued.