MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minneapolis police began removing Black Lives Matter protesters from the 4th Precinct around 4 a.m. Thursday morning, using bulldozers and buckets of water to break up the demonstrators that had been camped out there since the shooting death of Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.
Officers handed out fliers telling the demonstrators they had 10 minutes to collect their things and leave. Following the notification, the Minneapolis Fire Department began extinguishing the protestors’ campfires with buckets of water as police and city crews hauled away items on the street.
Most demonstrators left the scene peacefully. Chief Janeé Harteau said police arrested 8 people without incident for not complying with the officers' order to leave.
At a press conference, Harteau said the time and manner of ending the occupation of the Fourth Precinct was strategic.
"Once time had gone by and we knew the occupation would not end on its own, we certainly had been doing extensive monitoring of the protests and looking at time of day, what would be the best time for everyone involved and when we had the best resources," Harteau said. "So it was very strategic for when we did it with those things in mind. Public safety is our number one priority.”
Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges thanked both the police officers for their professionalism in removing the protestors and protestors for their peaceful withdrawal from the precinct.
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis says they are planning a rally at City Hall at 4 p.m. Thursday in response to the morning's events.
Prior to Thursday, Harteau said the occupation of the Fourth Precinct cost the police department more than $750,000 in overtime pay.
Full letter from police to protestors
The Minneapolis Police Department remains steadfast in its commitment to helping facilitate demonstrations outside of its 4th Police Precinct. It is a city building within city grounds and people have the right to peacefully demonstrate or protest.
However, at this point it is necessary to inform members of the public that structures and fires will not be permitted on city property, no will they be permitted if they impede traffic or access to the Precinct.
You will have 10 minutes to collect your property and leave the area. City workers will be along soon to help people remove their structures and belongings from the grass area in front of the Precinct.
Valuables left behind will be collected for safe keeping and will be returned through the Minneapolis Police Department’s Property & Evidence Unit; workers with the unit can be reached by calling 612-673-2932.