Police Fire Nonlethal Rounds, Pepper Spray on 4th Night of Protests in Brooklyn Center

Police used pepper spray, flash grenades, and nonlethal rounds against crowds outside Brooklyn Center Police headquarters in Minnesota on the evening of April 14, the fourth day of protests following the police killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

According to local media, police declared an unlawful assembly at 9 pm, began issuing dispersal orders, and then moved to break up the crowd, which was reported to be smaller than previous nights, after a 10 pm curfew came into effect.

Shortly before 9 pm, Minnesota State Patrol wrote on social media that people in the crowd were “throwing objects” and “shooting fireworks” at police, as well as “trying to climb and dismantle the fence around the building, and shining laser pointers at police.” At the turn of 9 pm, MSP warned demonstrators to either leave or be arrested for violating the curfew. “Multiple dispersal orders have been given,” they tweeted.

Reporters on the scene, including Brendan Gutenschwager and New York Times reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, said police fired multiple rounds of nonlethal munitions into the crowd after declaring an unlawful assembly. Bogel-Burroughs also said the heavy use of pepper spray induced coughing not only among demonstrators, but also among “police officers downwind from the ones spraying it.”

The footage here shows tense scenes as the crowd faced police outside the fenced-in Brooklyn Center Police Department building. Police officers are seen directing pepper spray and firing projectiles toward the protesters, many of whom used umbrellas as shields.

About 24 people were arrested, most of them for “curfew violations to probable cause riot,” MSP spokesman Col Matt Langer said in a press conference later that night. No burglaries or looting were reported, he said.

Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop on April 11, was arrested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on Wednesday morning and was charged by Washington County Attorney Peter Orput with second-degree manslaughter. Credit: Status Coup/Jon Farina via Storyful