Minneapolis Mayor Requests Federal Investigation Into Police-Involved Shooting

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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges speaks during a press conference regarding the officer-involved shooting in the Minnesota city on Sunday. Tony Webster/Flickr

Updated | Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has asked the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota to open an investigation into the police-involved shooting of a black man over the weekend in the Minnesota city.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is conducting an independent investigation of the incident. Officials haven't released the identity of the man who was shot nor his condition in the hospital, but family members and the Minneapolis chapters of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP have identified him as Jamar Clark, 24. His relatives told local media that he is on life support.

In a letter Hodges sent Monday to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta and U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, she said she believes federal consideration "assists the interests of transparency and community confidence in the outcome of this investigation."

Officials haven't released many details about the shooting. Members of the local chapters of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP have been occupying the main entrance of the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct station since Sunday afternoon. They say they won't leave until the video of the shooting is released.

Activists participating in a Black Lives Matter protests shut down a highway on Monday night. At least 50 people were detained, including a local TV reporter.

"Like all the other journalists on the side of I-94 Monday night, I was there for one reason. To do my job. I have no intention of stopping," Jack Highberger, a reporter for FOX 9, posted on Facebook. His arrest was captured on video. He later said authorities took his fingerprints and mugshot, and charged him with a crime, before releasing him from jail.

Activists are calling for the police department to fire the officers responsible for the shooting and to prosecute the individuals accordingly. They also are requesting a federal review.

Around 12:45 a.m. local time on Sunday, Minneapolis police were called to a report of an assault. Officers arrived and attempted to calm the suspect, who had confronted paramedics and was disrupting their ability to assist a victim at the scene, police said. A physical altercation and a struggle with the suspect then took place. An officer discharged his weapon, striking the suspect. The man was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Several witnesses said the suspect was in handcuffs when he was shot. But police said an ongoing preliminary investigation shows the suspect wasn't cuffed at the time. The BCA has confirmed there were handcuffs at the shooting scene.

Two officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave for the remainder of the investigation.

The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act allows the federal government to review local law enforcement procedures. The DOJ has conducted dozens of such investigations.

Hodges is the most recent mayor to request review from the DOJ. Earlier this year, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the federal government to review the practices and procedures of her city's police department, in the wake of 25-year-old Freddie Gray's death in April while he was in police custody.

Following the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last November, residents, civil leaders and Mayor Frank Jackson requested a review of a series of high-profile incidents involving the city's police. The DOJ launched an investigation and ultimately concluded last December that officers there engaged in unnecessary use of deadly force. But just two months ago, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office decided the shooting was "reasonable" because the officer thought the child was armed.

And in Ferguson, Missouri, where the DOJ cleared the officer responsible for the August 2014 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, federal authorities found the city's police department and courts violated African-Americans' civil rights.

This story has been updated to include information about the ongoing protests.

Minneapolis Mayor Requests Federal Investigation Into Police-Involved Shooting | U.S.