UPDATED 9:44 AM PT – Thursday, April 15, 2021
Violent protests continued in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota for a fourth night as demonstrators clashed with police following the apparent accidental death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
On Wednesday, at least 500 people gathered outside the city’s police station, which is now guarded with concrete barriers and a large metal fence. Protesters were heard chanting and seen throwing objects.
John Harrington, a member of Operation Safety Net and Commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Minnesota, said he received calls from community members who were out on the ground. They told him they wanted to keep the peace, they wanted the looting to stop and they didn’t want their city to burn. Harrington said the community was calling him. because the protesters were not listening.
“They (protesters) pulled on the fence, shot pyrotechnics, lobbed bricks and bottles over the fence,” explained the public safety official. “I could also tell you that they presented some challenges to the neighborhood…blocking the streets which could have, if we would have had a medical emergency, become a real crisis.”
According to Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson, there were a total of 24 arrests during Wednesday’s protests. The majority of those people, Hutchinson said, were not Brooklyn Center residents. He said state and local agencies are working together to use the least harmful tools to preserve the First Amendment rights of the protesters while also protecting citizens from criminal activity.
“We are not going to abandon the people of Brooklyn Center no matter what,” assured the sheriff.
Earlier in the day, city authorities announced former officer Kim Potter, who allegedly shot Wright, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison.
The 26-year veteran intended to taser Wright during a traffic stop, but mistakenly gabbed her firearm instead. She fired a single shot. Wright was pulled over due to a traffic violation and police tried to detain him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) April 15, 2021
A curfew was in effect for Brooklyn Center and several surrounding cities from Tuesday 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. The National Guard also deployed troops in the region as a precaution against further unrest.