A Black Lives Matter protest over the police killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark turned violent around 10:40 p.m. Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after five protesters were shot. What makes the shootings even more terrifying are reports claiming the suspects may have been white supremacists. Minneapolis police have yet to confirm the rumors, but they are searching for three white males who, according to witnesses, were wearing masks and, possibly, bulletproof vests near the 4th Precinct protests. Miski Noor, a Black Lives Matter media rep, said, “A group of white supremacists showed up at the protests, as they have done most nights.” When a dozen or so protesters attempted to move the men away from the area, Noor says the men “opened fire on about six protesters,” injuring five.
The victims, all black men between the ages of 19 and 43, were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds told CBS Minnesota there had been talks of white supremacists attacking demonstrators in the days leading up to Monday night’s shootings. “Everyone has been on high alert because, in the last several days, there have been lots of conversations of white supremacists’ websites and chatrooms, where they talked about coming to the protests.”
Levy-Pound said there was even talks of bringing weapons. “They talked about having weapons and also doing things that would agitate the crowd and incite confrontation between police officers and protesters.” According to The Star Tribune, officials are debating whether to treat the shootings as a hate crime.