April 14 (UPI) — Dozens of people were arrested as police and protesters clashed for a third straight night in Brooklyn Center, Minn., following the fatal police-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop over the weekend.
Authorities said the protest began peacefully Tuesday afternoon near the vigil for Wright who was shot to death Sunday by officer Kimberly Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force.
However, as night fell, the situation devolved, police said.
Some 1,000 people congregated outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, the focal point of the previous two nights of protests, and began shaking the metal fence that separated them from officers in riot gear and National Guards members, the Star Tribune reported.
Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, told reporters in a midnight press conference, that dispersal orders were given after the protesters trying “compromise the fence” began throwing bricks, bottles and other items at police.
Fireworks were also ignited and lasers were directed at the eyes of the officers, activities he said “lead toward a riot,” and authorities conducted upward of 60 arrests throughout the night.
“The behaviors that we continue to see is unacceptable and we are not going to tolerate them,” he said.
Charges ranged from curfew violation to riot, he said.
A 10 p.m. curfew was put into effect for Brooklyn Center and other regions including the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis Police Department Chief Amelia Huffman said there were only two arrests in the city and no reports of looting or businesses damaged as there were in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center the two nights previous.
The third night of protests followed the resignation of Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon over the Sunday shooting.
Gannon had said Monday that he believed Potter accidentally shot Wright with her service weapon when she had intended to discharge her Taser.
Police pulled Wright over and discovered he was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. As he attempted to flee the arresting officer, he was shot and soon after died.
In footage from her body-worn camera taken during the incident, Potter can be heard repeatedly saying “Taser” before letting off a single bullet and then cursing afterward.
“I shot him,” she is heard yelling.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot said Tuesday he has asked Gov. Tim Walz to reassign Wright’s case to the office of the attorney general “to ensure transparency and to continue building trust in our community.”
The shooting occurred during an already tense time in Minneapolis as the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the city nears its end.
Chauvin has been charged with murder over killing George Floyd, whose Memorial Day death sparked protests against racial inequality nationwide.