Jamar Clark Protests Cost Taxpayers $1 Million

By Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States (4th Precinct) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The 4th Precinct protests last November cost taxpayers a total of over $1 million according to records obtained by KSTP.

Over $900,000 was spent by the city of Minneapolis on overtime pay for police officers called in to work the protests following the police shooting death of Jamar Clark. 18 days of protests followed, shutting down Plymouth Avenue as people occupied it, complete with tents and fires.

The protests included several tense standoffs and violent interactions with police officers.

The city spent an additional $58,000 on fencing, lighting, scaffolding, and repairs to damaged property at the north Minneapolis police station as a result of the protests.

“Those are real expenses that are borne out by taxpayers and at some point we have to say, ‘When is enough, enough?’” Representative Nick Zerwas said to KSTP.

Zerwas introduced a bill last session which would hold protesters civilly liable for the costs of their protest, but only if they are convicted of unlawful assembly or other crimes relating to their protests. He believes this narrow tailoring is sufficiently specific to protect the right of freedom of speech. In his view it would only serve to deter protesters from damaging property and shutting down infrastructure like the highway system.