The shooting death of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis last month triggered a sustained “occupation” of a police precinct organized by the local chapter of Black Lives Matter. Clark was shot during a confrontation with police on November 15th after they were called to defend paramedics providing treatment to Clark’s girlfriend, a victim of alleged domestic abuse.
If those circumstances weren’t enough to tarnish Clark’s image as a BLM poster child, we now know that the confrontation which ended in his death was not his first violent encounter with police. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
[Clark] led officers on a high-speed chase while driving a stolen car in July.
The chase reached speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on Minneapolis residential streets with two juveniles in the back seat of the car. It ended when Clark crashed into an apartment building about 10 p.m. July 29. When Clark repeatedly refused to be handcuffed, an officer hit him once in the face, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune.
Clark was arrested and charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. The documents said Clark claimed excessive use of force during his arrest.
The bit about refusing to be handcuffed proves particularly relevant to the controversy over Clark’s death. Black Lives Matter protesters claim that Clark was shot while unarmed and handcuffed. By contract, the head of the Minneapolis police union has said that Clark was never handcuffed and was shot while attempting to gain control of an officer’s gun. If Clark had a history of resisting arrest, and resisting handcuffing in particular, it adds credibility to the claim that he fought police at the time of his death.