And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism.]

In Minneapolis, a black man was shot by police, two officers are on paid leave, protesters are demanding justice, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.
Jason Sole, chair of the Minneapolis NAACP's criminal justice committee, said many black residents of north Minneapolis are upset.

"We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson," he said referring to the shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri last year of black 18-year-old Michael Brown, which sparked nationwide protests. "That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately," Sole told Minnesota Public Radio News.

The shooting happened after police said they were called to north Minneapolis at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday for a report of an assault. When they arrived, the man had returned and was interfering with paramedics who were assisting the victim, police said. Officers tried to calm him, but there was a struggle.

At some point, an officer fired at least once, hitting the man, police said. Witnesses told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that there was a big crowd at the scene, and bystanders became agitated as police pushed them back. Some witnesses said police used a chemical irritant on the crowd.

Authorities have declined to release the man's name, but the Minneapolis NAACP cited family members and witnesses in identifying him as Jamar Clark.
Clark is on life support after being shot in the head, and some of his family members have told media that they've been informed he is brain-dead.

The victim with whose medical care he was interfering was reportedly his girlfriend, and police have alleged that he assaulted her. Even if this accurate, the punishment for assault is not death.

And, as always, there is disagreement between the police version and witnesses on the scene: "Accounts from some witnesses that the man was handcuffed when he was shot sparked outrage. Police said their preliminary investigation shows the man was not handcuffed but the investigation is ongoing."

I don't imagine that Clark is going to recover, although I hope I am wrong. My sympathy to his family, friends, and community.

I cannot, and don't want to, speak for other survivors of intimate partner abuse, so I want to be clear that I am speaking only for myself here: The police were indifferent to my being harmed, and I was angry about that. But I would have been devastated if the police had responded only to gravely injure and/or kill the man who harmed me. The guilt of that would have crushed me.

Women who want justice and safety, and who do not want their attackers dead, need to feel as though they can call police without risking their attackers' lives. We shouldn't be obliged, in an already traumatic situation, to calculate whether the abuse is so bad that we are willing to potentially feel responsible if calling the police means summoning our abuser's executioner.

That should never figure into a woman's decision to call police for help.

Yet here we are.

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