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Police shooting of Somali man prompts march in Minneapolis

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hundreds of people chanted and marched Sunday to condemn the death of a mentally ill Somali immigrant who was shot by police two weeks ago.

The demonstration started at the site where Abu Kassim Jeilani, 28, was shot by Minneapolis police officers after he refused to drop a machete and crowbar he was carrying March 10.

The march continued to the steps of the Hennepin County Government Center. Police said no arrests were made during the more than two-hour event.

"Justice for Jeilani," many marchers chanted as they headed downtown, along with, "No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police."

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A handful of people carried signs supporting the police.

Officers confronted Jeilani after he was seen walking along Franklin Avenue carrying a machete and a crowbar. He had been hospitalized recently for mental illness, and court records said he was psychotic.

Jeilani was shot after a stun gun failed to subdue him, possibly blocked by layers of clothing. Police Chief Robert Olson said his officers appeared to follow proper procedures.

Many of the more than two dozen speakers outside the Government Center on Saturday said that police overreacted when they shot Jeilani and that they should be held accountable.

Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, repeatedly urged the marchers not to overreact.

"If you turn to violence, then you will do the same thing that brought us together," he said. "We have to send a message of peace."

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