For the third day in a row, hundreds of people demonstrated in Minneapolis, USA, in front of the local police headquarters. They are taken to the streets after the killing of Don Wright, a 20-year-old black man, who was shot by a police officer. The strength of the protests was also amplified by the fact that the accident occurred just a few kilometers from where George Floyd lost his life last year. The local attorney general’s office announced that it will file murder charges against the police.
Even before the night curfew began, security forces declared the demonstrations illegal and ended them using tear gas and grenades. District Attorney Pete Orbot announced on Wednesday that he will file murder charges against white policeman Kim Potter, who shot Wright. Local newspaper Star Tribune reported that if found guilty, she faces up to ten years in prison and a fine.
Tuesday’s protests began, according to the Star Tribune, with a peaceful afternoon protest in which people called for an independent investigation into Potter’s actions, which at the same time left the Brooklyn Center Police Force. Activist and attorney Nikima Levi Armstrong told the crowd that she recently spoke with the governor of Minnesota about proposing police reforms, including the abolition of so-called qualifying immunity, which protects police officers from prosecution for acts performed in service.
At dusk, several hundred protesters remained in front of a newly fenced police headquarters in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, against which dozens of heavily dressed police officers and members of the National Guard stood against it. Some protesters threw water bottles and other items from the fence when law enforcement. Just before 9 p.m. (04:00 CEST), more than an hour before the curfew, police declared the gathering illegal and began urging people to disperse.
This was followed by tens of minutes of relatively dramatic confrontations with the use of tear gas, grenades and “non-lethal” shells to disperse the demonstrators. The crowd of protesters gradually disappeared when tear gas penetrated apartments near the police station. Later, the police announced the arrest of more than 60 people. The protests were accompanied by looting on Sunday and Monday, but on Wednesday evening the police did not report such riots.
Minnesota’s largest city saw similar scenes less than a year ago after George Floyd, suspected of using a fake cigarette bill, died in police hands. A controversial new campaign by the local police force against a black man came at a delicate moment when a trial was held in Minneapolis with former police officer Derek Chauvin accused of murdering Floyd.
Don Wright died after being stopped by police on the road on Sunday on suspicion of a traffic offense. Then the police discovered an arrest warrant for the driver and tried to arrest him. However, the young man did not cooperate and returned to his car, and one bullet fell in its tracks. Wright was pronounced dead after an accident near a clash with police.
Potter left the police after 26 years in light of the accident. The current head of staff of the Brooklyn Center, Tim Gannon, did the same on Tuesday, having previously described Wright’s death as the result of an “unintended” shot. Potter said he wanted to use an electric stun gun, but accidentally reached for one.
“We need to make sure that justice is served enough to do justice,” said Mike Elliott, mayor of the Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, the first black man to do so. “Downright deserves it. And his family deserves it.” Elliott also expressed his hope, according to the Associated Press, that Potter’s departure from the police “will bring some peace to society.”