Brooklyn Center Police Arrest 100 After Daunte Wright Protest Turns Violent A demonstrator is arrested during a protest near the Brooklyn Center police station after police killed a Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, United States. (Chris Juhn/Sputnik via AP)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 17 April 2021 12:38 PM
Approximately 100 people were arrested Friday night in connection with unrest in Brooklyn Center, Minn. after hundreds of protesters gathered outside the city's police department on the sixth night after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who a police officer shot and killed during a traffic stop this past Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, during a joint news conference with Operation Safety Net law enforcement leaders at around midnight local time Saturday, did not say what charges could be brought against the people who had been detained, reports Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP.
In comparison, there were no arrests made during Thursday night's protests.
Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the department, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Officials have said the shooting took place when she pulled out her service weapon rather than a Taser during the confrontation. She has resigned from her job.
Initially, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott announced he would not impose a citywide curfew Friday night, after imposing one that went into effect at 10 p.m. Thursday. However, the city ended up issuing a curfew from 11 p.m. Friday night through 6 a.m. Saturday after crowds and unrest grew outside the police station.
Crowds started gathering outside the police department early in the evening, with a KSTP reporter estimating there were about 200 people already present. However, The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reports that at its peak, the crowd eventually grew to around 1,000 people.
Initially, the protests were peaceful, but at around 9 p.m., arguments started inside the crowd when one speaker called for the twin fences outside the police department to be torn down, the newspaper reports.
After that, troops and officers moved to arrest people after the attempt to breach the fences and after protesters threw objects at them.
During the news conference, law enforcement leaders said that for the most part, the gathering had stayed peaceful and legal until its final moments, and said they were disappointed that a strategy used on Thursday to back away and wait out the protesters did not work Friday night.
Harrington said that just before 9 p.m., an attempt was made to breach the fences and that's when glass bottles, rocks, and other objects were being thrown.
By 9:30 p.m., the protesters attempted to cut parts of the fence, said Harrington, while not offering details on how the breach had been attempted or how much damage was done.
He added that law enforcement observed some people wearing helmets and other tactical gear and then advancing on the front and back fences with weapons like baseball bats and shields that they had hidden behind nearby dumpsters.
They then issued three orders to disperse the crowd before moving in to arrest people, said Harrington. At that point, most of the protesters ran away, and officers focused on those remaining near the fences.
"This is a night that should have been about Daunte Wright," Harrington said, adding that the chaos had ended an otherwise nonviolent protest.
He continued that "community partners" tried to keep the protest peaceful, but were not successful, and other law enforcement officials echoed his disappointment that the protest changed.