BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota — Police and protesters clashed for a fourth night after Kimberly Potter, the officer who shot Daunte Wright, was charged with second-degree manslaughter.
The protests, which began in the mid-afternoon, started peacefully and gradually grew more tense as darkness fell and more law enforcement arrived at the barricaded Brooklyn Center police department. At a rally behind the precinct, many community members spoke out against racism, Minnesota police, and policing tactics in general.
Many people present took issue with the charges raised against Potter. One Brooklyn Center man, who refused to give his name, told the Washington Examiner that she should have been charged with “murder in the third degree.”
While most people in the crowd gathered and listened to the speakers, a loud group of protesters gathered outside the gates of the fence surrounding the precinct and hurled insults at the police standing guard with pepper spray. Police intermittently sprayed protesters who rattled or attempted to climb the fence. Another officer perched in an armored vehicle shot rubber bullets into the crowd when people threw water bottles over the fence.
Two young women approached the Washington Examiner and asked that the outlet, along with other news outlets, stop covering the protests at the fence and instead focus on the rally happening behind them. They gathered several people from the crowd and began taunting a CNN crew, as well as CNN reporter Miguel Marquez, who was reporting on the event.
“You are the problem,” one of the women shouted at the CNN crew.
“They’ve got the police on both sides of the fence,” the woman added, referring to the media. “Yikes. What a scary place we’re living in.”
The situation escalated when the woman demanded that Marquez prove that he was a member of the press. As he spoke with her, one of the protesters lobbed a plastic water bottle at one of the other CNN crew members. It hit him square on the forehead and he fell to the ground. When he got back up, he told the Washington Examiner that he was unhurt, but that the blow was memorable.
Protesters mocked the crew member after he fell. Soon afterward, protesters began shoving the crew and chased them out of the rally. As the crew left, protesters pelted them with water bottles and trash.
Marquez tweeted about the incident several hours after the fact, writing that his team was “fine” and would “continue to report on this vital story as it unfolds.”
When night fell, protesters began building their own barricades to fight back against the police, who were preparing to enforce Brooklyn Center’s curfew. People wearing gas masks unloaded wooden shields from pickup trucks and distributed umbrellas to combat tear gas. Ryan, an organizer, explained to the Washington Examiner as he cleaned off a gas-stained umbrella that the group planned to fight the police all night.
“They came to harm us and they have for the past three days,” he said. “But as you can see, we’re not going anywhere.”
But when the 10 p.m. curfew passed, National Guard bused in from Minneapolis cleared the area along with Minnesota state police. As with the previous three nights, police issued warnings and fired flash bang grenades at the crowd before moving in on those who did not leave.