No tear gas used as police, protesters engage for a 4th night in Brooklyn Center

Fewer arrests were made Wednesday compared to Tuesday.
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Brooklyn Center police, unrest, Daunte Wright

An image of Brooklyn Center Police Department that was taken Monday.

Twenty-four people were arrested during the fourth night of protests in Brooklyn Center in wake of a police officer fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday. 

According to Minnesota Operation Safety Net – a unified command that combines forces from local police, State Patrol, DNR, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the National Guard – the arrests happened after the 10 p.m. curfew.

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the main law enforcement response was towards a crowd of around 500 protesters, some of whom he says was pulling on the fence around the police precinct, shooting fireworks, and throwing bricks and bottle over the fence.

But for the second night running, the protests were confined to outside the police department, and there were no reports of looting or fires in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis or St. Paul. 

There were no reports of tear gas being used after the crowd dispersal tactic was deployed extensively the first three nights.

Reporters on the ground documented law enforcement using pepper spray and marking rounds on the crowd, with numerous media members live-streaming a lengthy standoff that saw protesters shielding themselves with umbrellas from pepper spray being deployed by law enforcement who were dressed in riot gear and standing behind a barricade and fence. 

There were also reports of residents from local apartment buildings being caught up in the police response, with at least one appearing to be detained by officers, while members of the media were also held at points and required to present ID to be photographers.

State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said the majority of the 24 arrests were for violating Brooklyn Center's 10 p.m. curfew and riot. And for a second night in a row there were no reports of looting or fires in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. 

Law enforcement was on the receiving end of bricks, alcohol bottles, milk jugs, water bottles, rocks and canned items being thrown by some protesters, according to Operation Safety Net. 

"We will stop violence and criminal activity," said Sheriff Dave Hutchinson. "We will continue to use the least harmful tools we have available to preserve and protect protester people's First Amendment right, but we will stop violence and criminal activity." 

Police arrested more than 60 people on Tuesday night, when the crowd was estimated to be 800-1,000 people.

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The response by authorities Tuesday night was more aggressive, as they utilized tear gas, rubber bullets, to move the crowd away from the police station, prompting criticism particularly over the use of the gas.

"We want people to leave. We don't want to arrest people. Our goal is not to see how many people we can arrest as part of Operation Safety Net," Col. Langer said.

The protests are in response to now-former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter fatally shooting Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop. Potter has since resigned and been charged with second-degree manslaughter. She posted $100,000 bond and was released from jail on Wednesday. 

Community activists have denounced the manslaughter charge, demanding that Potter be charged with murder. 

"What do we want? Murder charges! What she did was murder," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said to the crowd Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune

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