A peaceful night of prayers turned into chaos and arrests, Reg Chapman reports. He, along with other WCCO journalists were told they were not exempt from police action (1:41) WCCO 4 Saturday Morning - April 17, 2021
- WCCO's Reg Chapman was in Brooklyn Center when the night took a turn. He tells us what he saw and how journalists were not exempt from police action.
REG CHAPMAN: Friday night seen one of the largest crowds outside the Brooklyn Center police department. More than 1,000 people were gathered basically expressing their First Amendment rights to protest. There were ministers throughout the crowd at the beginning of the protests praying over the crowd and the crowd was very festive. Even people here from the Freedom Fighters were basically assisting people making sure the protesters were peaceful.
There were no displays of fireworks. There were no people shooting, throwing rocks or bricks inside the compound. That was true until a couple of minutes before 10:00 when someone breached the barrier that was set up the night before that protected the protesters from the precinct. Once that breach happened, there were a lot of flash-bangs. There were some, some tear gas and people were told to disperse.
After more than three times to disperse, you can see the National Guard coming from the South and Minnesota State troopers coming from the North and they sandwiched people. People began to run. We were caught up in that crowd. We were forced to get on the ground, our credentials checked, our pictures taken, and we were released. What we are told is that authorities did not want to use any force. Things were very peaceful.
Protesters we talked to say they were here for change. They did not tell people to throw bricks and rocks over the gate. It was a small handful of more than a thousand protesters that were here in Brooklyn Center that caused the chaos that led to multiple people being arrest-- arrested and detained here in Brooklyn Center. So a peaceful night of prayers turned into chaos and arrests here in Brooklyn Center. Reg Chapman, WCCO 4 News.