BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota (FOX 9) – The Brooklyn Center declared an emergency curfew on Friday after protests escalated, leading police to disperse a crowd outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
Wright, 20, was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center cop on Sunday during a traffic stop. The officer resigned and was charged with second degree manslaughter. The shooting sparked protests throughout the week.
Initially, the city did not plan a curfew for the first time this week. But around 10:30 p.m., Operation Safety Net announced that the mayor had declared an emergency curfew that begins at 11 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday.
“We have decided to take a different approach, the curfew will be lifted at the Brooklyn Center for tonight,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said in a statement after his initial decision not to impose a curfew. “With neighboring residents and businesses in mind, we continue to call on those who wish to participate in peaceful protests and demonstrations to do so in safety.”
The curfew followed unrest outside the police department. Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Friday, protesters crossed the side gate surrounding the Brooklyn Center Police Department. In response, law enforcement used flash bangs and pepper spray to repel the crowd. The officials repaired the fence. Protesters continued to throw objects, such as glass bottles, over the barricades.
At 9:50 p.m., the security forces issued a dispersal order, declaring the demonstration illegal, and began to move through the crowd. A reporter there saw at least one use of tear gas. The crowd quickly thinned following the order. A convoy of police vehicles quickly invaded the street where the demonstrators were standing a few minutes earlier.
Earlier in the evening, law enforcement appeared to be taking the same more relaxed approach as the day before. The officers moved away from the barricades, creating more distance between them and the demonstrators.
The 10K Foundation, a social justice group formed after the death of George Floyd, is among the Friday night groups organizing the rally. Other community leaders encouraged protesters to come in a bathrobe to show their support for a nearby resident who was arrested during the protests while wearing her bathrobe.
While some of this week’s gatherings have been peaceful, protests have at times turned violent, leading to clashes with law enforcement and also looting of shops. Officers used chemical irritants and flash bangs on protesters.
In a letter, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson called downtown Brooklyn for creating “significant confusion” over the self-help response amid the ongoing unrest. The city council passed a resolution banning the use of certain crowd control tactics, such as tear gas, which the mayor supported. However, the sheriff says the resolution does not apply to the joint law enforcement operation responding to the protests.
On Thursday evening, Brooklyn Center interim city manager Reggie Edwards announced that the city would contract with an organization to provide community workers to help ease tensions at the rallies.