- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A large crowd gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Saturday to demand charges against two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man, and a smaller group then marched through Minneapolis chanting, “No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police.”

Jamar Clark, 24, was shot Nov. 15 during what authorities called a struggle. But some who say they saw the shooting have said Clark wasn’t struggling and was handcuffed. He died a day later. The shooting sparked protests, including an 18-day encampment outside a police precinct.

Clark’s father, James Clark, told the crowd at Saturday’s rally that police are supposed to serve and protect. He said when officers kill people, they should be prosecuted.

“We are tired of all this. … There needs to be justice,” he said.

The rally, organized by Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar Clark, was held in advance of an anticipated decision on whether Officer Mark Ringgenberg and Officer Dustin Schwarze will be charged. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has said he hoped to have a decision on whether to file charges by the end of March.

Saturday’s rally remained peaceful. It included several speakers, song and prayer. Demonstrators held banners and wrote messages in chalk on the stairs.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, was among the speakers at the rally. She urged protesters to speak out, but also work within the system, saying that more people should run for elected office.

“We need to become the powers that be,” she said.

The Star Tribune reports that as the march began, the protesters briefly blocked a street near the light-rail tracks.

On Thursday, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau issued a videotaped message, warning activists that authorities wouldn’t tolerate violence. The video included images of Molotov cocktails being thrown over a fence and a broken window in a squad car. The video upset protesters, who said that the images didn’t represent the majority of the peaceful demonstrations. They also feared that it signaled the officers would not be charged.

Mayor Betsy Hodges issued a statement saying: “I regret that some of the images … do not reflect that the large majority of the people who protested at the Fourth Precinct last fall did so peacefully.”

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