Black Lives Matter protests calling for justice and transparency in the fatal shooting by police of 24-year-old Jamar Clark escalated Wednesday night when both protesters and police accused each other of violence and provocation.
The confrontation began in the early afternoon on Wednesday when protesters shouted at Minneapolis police who were taking down some of the tents protesters had set up outside the 4th Precinct. Police said the protesters were blocking the way to the entrance and that some protesters inside the vestibule of the 4th Precinct were blocking a security camera.
Tensions escalated in the evening when police said they used a chemical irritant to control the crowd after a few officers were hit by rocks and bottles thrown by protesters. According to police, several squad cars in the parking lot sustained "significant damage" from bricks thrown at them.
Protesters were seen pouring milk on their faces to dilute the chemical irritant, ABC affiliate KSTP in Minnesota reported.
Black Lives Matter protesters claimed on Twitter and Facebook that police were provoking protesters by pointing guns at them, tearing down a "Black Lives Matter" sign and using racial slurs.
"We feel there was a lot of tension because of the way protesters and our grieving community were so violently handled by police, who seemed to be intentionally agitating protesters," Lena Gardner, an organizer for Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, told ABC News today. "There were a few people who are not formally part of our Black Lives Matter group who were violent, and though we understand their strategies and tactics, we're committed to nonviolence and asked them to leave."
The Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment.
The clash last night centered at the 4th Precinct headquarters near where Clark was shot in the head by an officer outside an apartment building early Sunday morning, according to officials.
Clark died Monday night from the gunshot wound, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.
Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were the two officers who got into an altercation with Clark this past Sunday, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) told ABC News in a statement. The BCA added that both officers were seven-year police veterans who've served on the city's police force for 13 months and that they are currently on paid administrative leave.
The BCA did not identify which officer shot Clark during the altercation, but did note that the shooting happened after Ringgenberg and Schwarze were called to the scene of an assault when Clark disrupted paramedics' "ability to aid an assault victim."
Some witnesses have alleged that Clarke was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have disputed.
The BCA, which is independently investigating the shooting, said at a news conference on Tuesday that handcuffs were at the scene and that they are trying to determine whether Clark was restrained.
"We're still examining whether or not they were on Mr. Clark or whether or not they were just [fallen] at the scene," state BCA superintendent Drew Evans said at the news conference on Tuesday.
Though protesters are calling for authorities to release any video they have of the shooting, Evans that no videos can be released until the investigation is complete. However, Evans did reveal that there were videos of the shooting from an ambulance, public housing building and cell phones of by standers, but none show the incident fully.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.