- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Protests over the death of a black man in a confrontation with Minneapolis police officers have exposed a rift between younger and older black activists over tactics.

A protest encampment that sprang up in front of the 4th Precinct police station after the Nov. 15 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark was cleared away by officers last week. Longtime black community leaders had gathered at a news conference with Mayor Betsy Hodges earlier in the week to call on protesters to break camp.

Some organizers of Black Lives Matter, which led demonstrators at the encampment, felt betrayed that prominent black leaders were standing with Hodges. They saw it as a rejection of their brand of street activism, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/1NRorvg ) reports.

“What they are telling us is that we need to trust the system, and the system will work itself out,” said Mica Grimm of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. “But the reason why we took over the 4th Precinct is because time and time again, we’ve seen the system fail us in instances like this.”

Protesters have demanded the release of any videos showing the shooting and called for a special prosecutor. Some community members have alleged Clark was handcuffed when shot, but police dispute this.

Officials have refused to release any video that authorities have showing the shooting, saying it would compromise the investigation.

Sondra Samuels, one of many leaders who called for protesters to break camp, said she doesn’t oppose Black Lives Matter’s goals, but the encampment was hurting the neighborhood.

Samuels, president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone, said neighbors were on edge because of the constant presence of helicopters and police floodlights, and then shootings of five demonstrators. She said it was starting to feel like “we are being occupied.”

Keith Mayes, a University of Minnesota professor of African-American studies, said tensions between young and old aren’t a new phenomenon in the civil rights movement. He said it has always been about a youth movement “on the cutting edge of the issues,” and that older leaders today should remember history.

“The older black crowd has to check themselves and say, ‘Let these folks do what they have to do, because that’s what we did when we were young,’” Mayes said.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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