When Minneapolis police shot and killed Jamar Clark on November 15, he was the 1,001st person and the 29th unarmed black man in the U.S. to die at the hands of police in 2015. Most of these deaths passed with barely any notice. A few became the focus of substantial protests and national media attention. Clark’s was one of those.
A year after a Missouri grand jury declined to charge the officer who killed Michael Brown, sending Ferguson and much of the nation into a fresh round of public demonstrations, protesters in Minneapolis blocked a major freeway, marched on City Hall, and braved pepper spray—as well as the bullets of apparent counter-demonstrators—to express anger and frustration over police misconduct and abuse.
Leading the charge was the city’s newest civil rights leader, a charismatic law professor named Nekima Levy-Pounds. For months Levy-Pounds had warned that all it would take was a single spark to turn Minneapolis into the next Ferguson. Jamar Clark was that spark. “We call Minneapolis a tale of two cities: The best of times if you’re white, and worst of times if you’re black,” she told The Associated Press three days after Clark died.
The TakePart mini-documentary above follows the first Somali American police officer in Columbia Heights, Minn.
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