Nearly 100 people were arrested Friday night in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, following the protests of the death of Daunte Wright, according to local authorities.
Following a relatively peaceful protest Thursday where there were zero arrests, officials were hoping for the same Friday. However, as crowds began trying to break into the fence surrounding the Brooklyn Center Police Department and throwing objects at law enforcement, dispersal orders were given and arrests were made.
John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said during a press conference around midnight Friday that a peaceful protest of about 250 people in the afternoon grew to about 500 people by the evening.
By around 8 p.m., officials said they saw small groups of people start to bring plywood, shields, umbrellas and liquid bottles to the protest.
Harrington said by 8:47 p.m., some in the crowd started shaking the fence and throwing glass bottles. Deputies and officers, due to the successful approach of not engaging with protesters Thursday, tried the same tactic Friday, but the “response was very different,” he said.
People with masks and helmets started to arrive and then an exterior fence surrounding the police station was breached. Officials said they gave three dispersal orders to the crowd and then arrested those remaining or who had brought weapons to the area.
“I’m saddened by what happened,” Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said during a press conference Friday night. “Trying to cut down the fence to get into a safe area, their intentions are to cause harm to either the building or the police officers and deputies inside the fence. We need to grieve; we don’t need to have more problems with destruction and deputies hurt, officers hurt.”
Officials said while most protesters and community organizations did their part to help keep the peace Friday, more needs to be done so that small groups of people don’t ruin mostly peaceful protests.
“This is a night that should have been about Daunte Wright; should have been folks there, recognizing his death and the tragedy that that is,” Harrington said. “Tearing down a fence, coming armed to a protest, is not, in my mind, befitting a peaceful protest.”
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot Sunday by a white Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop.
Kim Potter, 48, and an officer she was training pulled Wright over for an expired registration tag on his car. The officers then determined Wright had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to then-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. As the officers tried to take Wright into custody, he got back into his car, police said. Potter then announced that she would use the Taser on Wright.
Potter meant to deploy her Taser instead of her gun when she fatally shot Wright in his car, Gannon said. Two days after the incident, both she and Gannon resigned, and Potter has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Wright’s death has sparked days of protests around not just Minnesota but also across the U.S.
Information about the exact number of those arrested Friday, and their charges, has not been released.
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