Rioters and police clashed for a fifth straight night in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, late Thursday following Daunte Wright’s death over the weekend, as elected leaders in the Minneapolis suburb where a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright want officers to scale back their tactics amid nightly protests.
Roughly 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police headquarters, with many staying well past the city’s 10 p.m. curfew. The protests grew tense after Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot announced just after 8 p.m. that a curfew would be going into effect from 10 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday — to the surprise of some, according to reports.
Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since former Officer Kim Potter, who is White, shot the 20-year-old Black motorist during a traffic stop on Sunday. Protesters have shouted profanities and, at times, shaken a security fence police erected outside the building and lobbed water bottles at officers. Police have driven away protesters with tear gas grenades, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and long lines of riot police.
- On Wednesday, about 24 people were arrested after authorities cleared rioters around the time of Brooklyn Center’s 10 p.m. curfew
- Demonstrations in Brooklyn Center have often turned violent, leading to clashes with law enforcement
On Thursday, rioters threw rocks, cans, and fruit at law enforcement and shined lasers at officers’ eyes “in an attempt to blind them,” according to Operation Safety Net (OSN), a public safety coalition formed to respond to incidents related to the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
“Protesters have begun to re-engage and throw objects over the fence, injuring officers and guardsmen with flying debris,” OSN tweeted.
The state law enforcement coalition added that fireworks were shot and rioters were trying to cut the fence line surrounding the building in an attempt to gain entry into the perimeter. A fistfight also broke out among some in the crowd outside the fence, OSN wrote.
Unlike previous nights, law enforcement officers stood farther back from the barricades, creating more distance from the rioters. A second line of fencing was also set up between rioters and the police department, FOX 9 of Minneapolis reported.
Others shouted obscenities at police and shook the security fence, just hours after Chicago’s police review board released graphic body camera video related to the fatal officer-involved shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month.
“It is happening in every single city, every single day across the country,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told protesters earlier in the evening. Hussein led demonstrators in a chant of “Say his name! Adam Toledo!”
Protesters also tied air fresheners to the fencing, an apparent nod to Wright’s mother, who said her son had one dangling from his mirror when he was stopped.
Police shot and killed Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a routine traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, on Sunday. Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, appeared to have intended to fire a Taser, not a handgun, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said.
The Brooklyn Center City Council on Monday passed a resolution banning the city’s officers from using tear gas and other chemicals, chokeholds and using police lines to arrest demonstrators. The resolution also allows protesters to videotape police.
But Brooklyn Center police aren’t dealing with protesters on their own. Other agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota National Guard, have provided support at the city’s request in a joint effort dubbed Operation Safety Net. The city’s resolution isn’t binding on those agencies.
Sheriff David Hutchinson asked Elliott in a letter on Wednesday to clarify whether he still wanted the department’s help.
“The city’s actions since Sunday evening have created significant confusion,” Hutchinson wrote. “In order to maintain peace and safety, it is critical that the City of Brooklyn Center communicate with its State, County, and local law enforcement partners regarding its ongoing need for mutual aid.”
Tensions in the area were already high amid the nearby trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death last year of George Floyd. The release Thursday of graphic police body camera footage showing a Chicago officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Hispanic boy, in March has further enflamed the situation.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report
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