MINNEAPOLIS—Hundreds of people filled a Minneapolis church on Wednesday for the funeral of a black man whose death in a confrontation with police has sparked days of ongoing protests, while charges were pending against four men suspected in a shooting that wounded several of the protesters.
Impassioned speeches from pastors and Jamar Clark’s relatives were occasionally interrupted by shouts and applause inside the cavernous Shiloh Temple International Ministries. Several relatives wore white T-shirts that read, “I matter,” with Clark’s picture on the back.
Programs also adorned with a photo of Clark described the 24-year-old as a man who “liked to swim, fish, listen to music, play basketball, be with family and take trips to Charlotte, North Carolina.”
“I’m still hurt,” his sister, Sharice Burns, told the packed church on the city’s north side. “I’m still suffering. We need justice sooner rather than later.”
Clark was shot on Nov. 15 in what police say was a scuffle with officers responding to an assault of a woman for which he was a suspect. Some community members who say they saw the incident allege Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed. State and federal investigations are underway.
Bishop Richard Howell praised protesters for pressure that he said helped get a federal criminal civil rights investigation and the names of the officers involved. Howell said what’s needed now is a special state legislative session to address the needs of Minnesota’s minority community.
“Jamar, your life did and does have purpose,” he said to a standing ovation. “Your death is not in vain.”
The funeral procession went past the 4th Precinct police station, where Black Lives Matters activists and others have been camped out for days. Vehicles in the procession honked their horns, and protesters shouted “Justice for Jamar.”
Police have arrested four men—ages 27, 26, 23 and 21—on suspicion of shooting five protesters after some protesters told the men to leave the site Monday night. Police said three of the men are white. The fourth man’s race hasn’t been released.
Prosecutors are considering charges but won’t announce a decision before Monday, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said.