US police cordon
The victim's name is Jamar Clark (representational image)Reuters

Protests have erupted in the US state of Minnesota after an unarmed black man suspected in an assault was apparently shot by police officers. The incident that took place on 15 November is being investigated by the Minneapolis police agency.

The police have not disclosed the victim's identity, while maintaining that the man was not handcuffed when he was shot. However, police accounts contradict those of eyewitnesses who saw the man handcuffed when he was shot. Minneapolis's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has found the victim's name to be Jamar Clark.

Jason Sole, chair of the association's criminal justice committee, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press: "We have been saying for a significant amount of time that Minneapolis is one bullet away from Ferguson." Sole was referring to the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by white officers in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. He added: "That bullet was fired last night. We want justice immediately."

The shooting happened when the police were responding to an assault call in north Minneapolis. The man was reportedly interfering with the paramedics, after which a struggle ensued. This led to an officer firing at least once at the man, police said. Following the incident, two police officers have reportedly been sent on paid leave.

After the incident, the victim was taken to hospital, where he was put on life support. "The family is heartbroken and traumatised by the whole event," Martez McKnight, 22, a nephew of the man said.

Police chief Janee Harteau has asked the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct an independent investigation. She also cautioned people that "there is a lot of speculation about what happened." She added: "We need to know exactly what happened, we need to know the truth. Everyone involved needs that and deserves that."

Meanwhile, protesters from the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis marched through the streets on 15 November to show their support for the victim.