Watch: Townhall's Frontline Footage from the Brooklyn Center, MN Riots

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Posted: Apr 13, 2021 6:35 PM

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Riots rocked the city just north of Minneapolis a second night on Monday after body camera footage was released showing what happened leading up to the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop that occurred Sunday. The officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, used her sidearm when she meant to use her taser.

Brooklyn Center, and much of the surrounding cities and counties, were under a 7:00 p.m. curfew, but that did not deter around 400 protesters from gathering at the Brooklyn Center Police Department building. The scene was tense. During the day, work crews put up concrete barriers and fencing to make it harder for agitators to get close to the building. Instead, protesters—often screaming vulgar insults at police—put themselves right up to the fence. One black man with a megaphone called for the white people in the crowd to be directly in the front of the line so police would be less likely to fire crowd control munitions. Many white people obliged his request.

After the curfew to effect, the tension continued to rise as some in the crowd threw objects over the fence in order to hit the officers, Minnesota State Patrol, and Minnesota National Guardsmen. Others in the crowd tried to get the agitators to stop. These attempts were effective for a time, but eventually too many people began throwing projectiles at law enforcement who responded by firing tear gas, pepper balls, and flashbangs.

While the situation continued to degrade at the police station, looting was ongoing at a nearby strip mall. The Dollar Store was hit particularly hard by looters, with it briefly being set on fire. A few doors down, there were two men armed with firearms—one with an AR-15 and the other with what looked like an AR pistol—standing next to other businesses to prevent further looting.

One location that was protected by the armed civilians was Scoreboard Pizza. Amidst the chaos, Jim, the manager, and three of his employees were still fulfilling orders for customers. The place "barely" survived the looting, he told Townhall.

"Honestly I felt a little vulnerable last night, at one point...fights were escalating. I heard people talking about, 'We don't give a sh*t about these white-owned businesses'...I don't think in color, but when people start saying things like that and I'm the only one there and it's a hornet's nest, I was slightly nervous," he said.

Jim said he eventually asked the two armed men to stand away from his place because their presence was becoming a friction point for protesters and looters nearby and he did not want them thinking he had hired the pair. Jim added he believes his place ultimately remained untouched, saying his was the only business that did not have graffiti on it, because of the pizza joint's strong involvement in the community. He did hear some in the crowd telling people not to mess with Scoreboard.

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For Tuesday, he closed down early and added more boards to the windows and door of the restaurant.

As the situation unfolded Monday evening, Minnesota State Troopers came out from behind the fence and began to push the rioters away from the police building, using a combination of crowd control munitions and bull-rushing the crowd. Forty people were arrested over the course of the night. Most of the looters at the strip mall had left in search of other stores to hit, but it looked like their momentum petered out.

Police continued to push the crowd further away from the station, but just before 11:00 p.m. at least thirty rounds of gunfire from different individuals could be heard in a set of apartment complexes nearby.