A gathering of hundreds of protesters at a north Minneapolis precinct grew tense Wednesday night, after police cleared the entrance of the station where some had camped since Sunday after Jamar Clark was shot by police.
Police sprayed a chemical irritant at a crowd through a chain link fence, and Minneapolis officials say some officers were targeted as well.
By late afternoon, around 300 Black Lives Matter protesters stood in a cold rain outside the precinct. When police removed a few of them from inside the vestibule, the protest grew outside.
The protesters demanded city leaders and investigators release video footage of the fatal police shooting of the 24-year-old African-American. Police had responded early Sunday to a suspect who was interfering with EMS personnel tending to a victim.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said no weapons other than those from police were found at the scene.
On Wednesday, a top Minneapolis police union official said Clark had reached for one of the officers' weapon when he shot. The union also contends Clark was not handcuffed, as some community members have said.
The BCA identified the officers Wednesday as Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.
The fourth day of protests was mostly peaceful with a few confrontations between protesters and police officers. At one tense moment, police fired a small canister they said was intended to mark a suspect who was throwing bricks so they could identify him later.
Later in the evening, a chemical irritant was used on both sides in at least three separate incidents. Police said they used it after they tried to remove protesters' tarps and had rocks and bottles thrown at them.
It's not clear how many people were hit by pepper spray or the marking round. One man, who declined to identify himself citing safety concerns, pointed at green residue on his gray glove from the marking round as he described the painful hit.
Minneapolis police say several officers sustained minor injuries. Inspector Mike Friestleben said the officers were hurt after being hit by water bottles and rocks.
Friestleben also says police arrested one man on suspicion of slashing the tires of an unmarked squad car. And police told TV station WCCO several squad cars in the precinct parking lot sustained "significant damage" from bricks.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges issued a statement asking protesters to remain calm. She said she and Police Chief Janeé Harteau asked officers to "exercise maximum restraint."
"I understand that emotions are running high in the community and across the city. I share many of the emotions that people are feeling in Minneapolis today," Hodges said. "I firmly believe in everyone's right to protest and understand that people want to have places where they can gather and do that peacefully."
Police said they had to move protesters who were blocking the precinct's entrance to the public. Friestleben said at least 10 people had been camping there and when officers went to talk to them about leaving, the crowd got angry.
"People started throwing stuff at us right away," he said. "We never even got a chance to talk to them."
But Shvonne Johnson, a St. Catherine University instructor who was there with college students, said officers didn't give them a chance to leave.
"They were charging us," she said. "People were trying to get past, to do what they asked us to do, but they came at us with force."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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