Skip to main content

Hennepin County board votes against motion condemning use of tear gas, rubber bullets on protesters

Commissioners cited recent events in Brooklyn Center.

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has rejected a motion that condemned the use of chemical irritants and less lethal projectiles by law enforcement against protesters.

Commissioners Irene Fernando and Marion Greene introduced the resolution during a committee meeting Tuesday. The resolution cited recent events in the Twin Cities this year involving the use of chemical irritants and less lethal projectiles by law enforcement during protests.

It also cited research from the University of Minnesota documenting injuries caused by less lethal projectiles like rubber bullets, and notes that the county can be held financial liable for anyone injured by such methods.

“I’ve been over the years increasingly uncomfortable with the ever increasing militarization of public safety functions,” Greene said during the meeting.

Greene cited protests in Brooklyn Center over the police killing of Daunte Wright earlier this month. Videos from the scene during the first few nights of protest showed police in armored vehicles firing rubber bullets and regularly using tear gas.

Commissioner Angela Conley spoke in favor of the resolution. She mentioned actions by other governments condemning the tactics. According to the Star Tribune, Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center have already passed similar resolutions.

“We’ve heard from other community organizations, we’ve from heard other municipalities, other representatives about what can be used,” Conley said. “The conversations are happening, and our board has a responsibility to … codify what we think about these kinds of forces.”

But other commissioners pushed back on the resolution. Commissioner Jeffrey Lunde said the resolution would need to outline what tactics are acceptable if protests escalate or become violent.

“I want to know what’s left. I’ve heard comments saying it’s ok if we let things burn. There are times when things have to happen. I don’t know what those are, but I know those on the ground making those decisions are not involved in these conversations,” Lunde said.

Commissioner Kevin Anderson expressed similar concerns, adding he believes the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department, which was heavily involved in the response to the Daunte Wright protests, should be more involved in crafting the resolution.

“We cannot prevent ourselves and our law enforcement from being able to respond to actual real threats,” Anderson said, citing the U.S. Capitol Insurrection on Jan. 6 as an example of such threats.

“That is not to say that we should… permit our law enforcement to retaliate against peaceful protesters. But they have to have the tools in their toolbox to take care of violent situations.”

The resolution ultimately failed to pass on a vote of 3-4, with Fernando, Greene and Conley voting in favor. 

Next Up

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 27

Cases remain very high but hospitalizations have been plateaued for the past week.

state patrol

Minnesota state trooper injured at crash scene on I-35

The trooper was in his squad when another vehicle struck.

money hundred dollar bills

Charges: Man stole thousands from 3 Twin Cities banks

When he was arrested, police found a folding knife on him.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here's what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in his first press conference

The 40-year-old former Wall Street trader originally wanted to be an economics professor.

Caucuses

Minnesota DFL to allow non-voters to participate in its caucuses

The party is holding its precinct caucuses this Tuesday.

T Kline Robbinsdale City Council

Council member offers first comments on DWI, fleeing police charges

Prosecutors say he was drunk while fleeing police on the wrong side of the highway.

Seventh Street Truck Park shooting, St. Paul

Charges: Man schemed to illegally buy gun used in Truck Park mass shooting

He's the second person to be charged in connection to the straw-purchasing scheme.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Walz announces $2 million to distribute KN95 masks in Minnesota

The announcement comes after federal officials have updated guidelines to recommend KN95 and N95 masks.

southwest light rail metro transit construction

Southwest LRT may now cost $2.75B, won't open until 2027

Met Council said last year it would open in 2023.

Aaron Rodgers

Broncos hiring Packers OC sparks speculation Rodgers could follow

What about both Rodgers and Davante Adams teaming up in Denver?

Minneapolis Fire Department

Fire tears through House of Charity building in Minneapolis

The charity serves hundreds of meals to those in need daily.

Related

Brooklyn Center police, unrest, Daunte Wright

No tear gas used as police, protesters engage again in Brooklyn Center

Fewer arrests were made Wednesday compared to Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center City Council votes to create department for noncriminal calls

The resolution is named after Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who were both killed by police in Brooklyn Center.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz criticized for comments on 'thoughtful' use of tear gas

The governor is under fire for comments he made Tuesday as protests continue over the police killing of Daunte Wright.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 10.57.19 PM

Flash bangs, tear gas used amid chaotic scenes following fatal police shooting

A crowd had gathered outside Brooklyn Center Police Department following the death of Daunte Wright.

protest, Daunte Wright

LIVE UPDATES: Protesters, police clash in Brooklyn Center

Tracking Monday night's clashing between law enforcement and demonstrators.

Hennepin County Government Center

Hennepin County could institute $20 minimum wage for county employees

The full Board of Commissioners will vote on the measure next week.

Kim Wright

Trial of former police officer Kim Potter will not be live streamed

Potter is charged in the April Killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.