Minnesota GOP charts new course in response to protests
January 23, 2017
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota officials responded to months of unrest last year after the death of a black man shot by police officers with funding meant to reduce the state's widespread racial disparities. This year, a new Republican-controlled Legislature is plotting a crackdown on protests, with tougher penalties for highway marchers and potentially putting some demonstrators on the hook for the enforcement costs at unruly protests.
It's a marked shift in reaction to the protests that simmered for weeks after the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark in November 2015 and again last summer after 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop near St. Paul. In both cases, protesters from Black Lives Matter and others set up encampments that police departments said cost more than $1 million in officer overtime and some damages. And in the days after each shooting, dozens of demonstrators were arrested after shutting down Interstate 94 with massive rallies, though charges were later dropped.