The fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a Minneapolis police officer has pushed racial tensions in the city’s small but concentrated minority community to the fore, with a police precinct besieged by a makeshift encampment and hundreds of protesters in recent days, says the Associated Press. Police have tried to improve race relations in recent years, and succeeded in some areas. But some community activists say racial disparities persist, including high unemployment rates for blacks, a disproportionate number of arrests for minor crimes and inequities in housing and the school system.
“We call Minneapolis a tale of two cities: The best of times if you’re white, and worst of times if you’re black,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds of the city’s NAACP chapter. Jamar Clark, 24, was shot in the head Sunday during a confrontation with two officers on the city’s north side, where the population is predominantly black and generally poorer than the rest of the city. An ACLU study this year found black people are nearly nine times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses in Minneapolis than white people. “African-American males feel like they are targeted by police because, frankly, they are,” said a state ACLU official.