Police back off on 5th night of protests in Brooklyn Center

No tear gas or any other crowd control munitions were used.

No one was arrested and physical altercations between law enforcement and demonstrators were few and far between during the fifth night of protesting in Brooklyn Center Thursday. 

Protesters by the hundreds have gathered outside the heavily secured Brooklyn Center Police Department each night since 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man, was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop April 11. 

But in contrast to protests between Sunday and Wednesday,, authorities used a less aggressive strategy on Thursday night, and the result was a far more more peaceful situation that saw no protesters being struck by rubber marking rounds, pepper spray, shock grenades or tear gas. 

Police did not discharge any weapons on the crowd, even after the city's 10 p.m. curfew passed. Instead, police were backed away from a newly reinforced fence and barricade surrounding the police department. They also never issued a dispersal order, never forming lines of riot gear-dressed officers to march through the streets with batons. 

Operation Safety Net, the multi-agency coalition designed to protect life and property during civil unrest, reported some protesters throwing bricks, rocks, pop cans and fruit over the fence at police. 

"Protesters have begun to re-engage and throw objects over the fence, injuring officers and guardsmen with flying debris," Operation Safety Net tweeted at 10:38 p.m. 

The crowd was estimated to be 1,000 strong before the 10 p.m. curfew, then dwindled to around 200 by 10:25 p.m. By 11 p.m. the crowd was down to approximately 75 people, and at 11:30 p.m. there were fewer than 20, according to Operation Safety Net. 

The night of peace followed approximately two-dozen arrests Wednesday night, and more than 60 arrests Tuesday night. 

It was also the first night this week that Operation Safety Net did not hold an overnight press conference, so there was no explanation why the strategy Thursday night differed so much from previous nights. But it comes after the police response to the Wright protests has come under increasing scrutiny.

After tear gas was deployed the first three nights of unrest, it stopped the day Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott criticized its use, saying "gassing, in my opinion, is not a humane way of policing."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Gov. Tim Walz was criticized for defending the use of tear gas in certain situations. 

"I would argue and make the case that last night, the protection of life, the protection of property, and the clear thoughtful use of how these were deployed in a limited manner made sense," Walz told MPR News on Tuesday. He added that police have to "strike a balance" when using the "deterrents." 

Walz spoke Thursday at a press briefing and said he believes the police station "would have been burned down" if it weren't for the fence, the use of crowd control measures such as tear gas, and numerous law enforcement personnel defending the property.

In May 2020, the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis was burned in wake of George Floyd's death during his arrest by city police.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the 5th Precinct burned in May 2020. It was the 3rd Precinct. We apologize for the error.

Next Up

Willians Astudillo

Twins pitchers decimated: 16 runs, 18 hits, 8 walks ... 4 strikeouts

The White Sox hammered the Twins 16-4 but Astudillo took the mound in the ninth.


Girl shot in the head at birthday party 'fighting for her life'

Trinity Ottoson-Smith was struck by a bullet in the head last weekend.

Kelly Kleine

Broncos hire Vikings' Kelly Kleine as highest-ranking woman scout in NFL history

Kleine will reunite in Denver with former Vikings executive George Paton.

Joel Eriksson Ek

Wild looks to exorcise demons from haunted Game 2 history

The Wild have lost nine straight Game 2s entering Tuesday night's tilt with Vegas.


Woman who died in crash after car lost tire in Minneapolis is ID'd

The 35-year-old Minneapolis woman was originally from Mahnomen.

Flickr - fishing minnesota 2020 -Lorie Shaull

Curious conservation officer reports from the Minnesota DNR

Gravel thieves, raucous campers and some quick thinking that backfired.

St. Paul police squad

Police 'tactically disengage' from standoff in St. Paul

The incident lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours.


Another Raising Cane's set to open in the Twin Cities

This will be the 11th Raising Cane's restaurant in the metro area.

kimberly potter

Trial of former police officer Kimberly Potter starts Dec. 6

Potter is charged in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Health care workers ratify tentative agreement with Allina Health

The union was threatening a strike just two weeks ago.


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.


Aggressive police response on third night of Daunte Wright protests

Law enforcement used armored vehicles, tear gas, and fired rubber bullets, but say officers were targeted with bricks and other projectiles.

protest, Daunte Wright

LIVE UPDATES: Protesters, police clash in Brooklyn Center

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

protest, Daunte Wright

Police and protesters clash, arrests made after more unrest in Brooklyn Center

Police once again used tear gas, flash bangs, and 'less-lethal' ammunition on protesters.

Brooklyn Center unrest

Fatal police shooting sparks civil unrest in Brooklyn Center

A robust presence of police and National Guard will be seen Monday.

protest, Daunte Wright, Brooklyn Center

Daunte Wright protests: Police treatment of residents, media in spotlight

There were reports of residents not involved in the protest being detained, and media members being held and forced to show credentials.