Black Lives Matter protesters shut down the airport in Minneapolis, disrupting travel on one of the busiest days of the year and angering scores of holiday travelers.
The group had planned to protest at the nearby Mall of America, but moved on when a restraining order against the group’s leadership led to arrests. Police arrested three people for trespassing and another for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The Black Lives Matter protesters then moved on to the MSP airport, Fox 9 reported. Officials said they would have allowed the group to protest had they been given warning, but instead the impromptu protest led to eight arrests.
At the airport, the group attempted to block both major terminals, which were clogged with holiday travelers.
In a press release, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said the protest was against “unmitigated state sanctioned violence against Black people and communities of color.” In particular the group focused on Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man shot and killed by Minneapolis police.
— TrueBlackNews (@trueblacknews) December 23, 2015
Clark’s shooting was under disputed circumstances, with police claiming that he had assaulted his girlfriend and was then interfering with responders. Police claimed that he was shot while attempting to attack police or reach for an officer’s gun, but witnesses said he was handcuffed when he was shot in the head.
“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest,” a man named Teto Wilson who said he saw the incident was quoted as saying by the local NAACP chapter. “Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”
At Wednesday’s protest, the Black Lives Matter group also tied in other incidents of police violence or misconduct against people of color.
“We want a complete overhaul of the justice system both locally and nationally. Just days after the non-indictment decision in Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas and two months after the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in Minnesota, we continue to demand justice, including the release of the tapes in the Jamar Clark case. Grand juries do not get justice for Black people when they are murdered by police, this is just one way the system is setup and works against Black people.”
The group called for the police involved in Clark’s death to be prosecuted, and for federal domestic terrorism charges against white supremacists who shot five protesters in November. They also called for more investment into black communities and what they termed a safety plan to protect black communities from “police violence.”
Thursday’s Black Lives Matter protest at the Minneapolis airport slowed many travelers, who shared stories on Twitter of being delayed in reaching friends and family members. But other reporters at the scene noted that travelers were not letting the protest phase them.
The group used the opportunity to call on police to release video of Clark’s killing.
On light rail with protesters. They are chanting no justice no peace prosecute the police. #blmatmoa
— Karen Scullin FOX9 (@kscullinfox9) December 23, 2015
Though the protest left many travelers angry, the Black Lives Matter group was unapologetic. The group’s statement noted that “black communities across the United States are taking brave actions to impede the flow of goods and commerce with peaceful protests to call for an immediate overhaul of the justice system both locally and nationally that will demand accountability for police.” The group specified the removal of grand juries in cases involving police shooting and an end to “militarized police units and weapons.”
The Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis was not the group’s only action on the day before Christmas Eve. The San Francisco affiliate had planned to black the U.S. Highway 101 exit to the San Francisco airport, CNN reported.
[Picture by Stephen Maturen]