BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Thursday night saw yet another large crowd gather outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department to protest the shooting of Daunte Wright. One of the major differences from Monday night was there was a second fence that was built to help protect the police station and officers inside the perimeter.
Another significant difference was how the crowd was prepared for a confrontation with the police and National Guard. As if Portland, Ore. had arrived in Minnesota, people dressed in all black carried umbrellas, wooden and metal shields, and wore various forms of body armor.
During the course of the night, people in the BLM crowd tried their best to provoke a reaction from law enforcement. Multiple bottles and other objects were thrown over the fence. They used high-powered lasers to blind the officers on the roof of the police station. Some in the crowd used construction material to try to block off the fence's gates to prevent vehicles inside the perimeter from leaving. They used umbrella formations to get close to the fence and shake it.
Members of the media were heavily targeted and harassed. Some in the crowd began interrogating and heckling camera crews, telling them the media was not welcomed.
One woman threatened to throw water bottles at the camera crews, referring to the incident that happened on Wednesday where a CNN crew member was hit in the head with what appeared to be a frozen water bottle. The man fell and was clearly disoriented after the hit.
Despite their best efforts, police did not use any crowd control munitions, partly because they have been banned from using tear gas, which was used heavily during the early days of the riots. Eventually, the 10:00 p.m. curfew went into effect and people slowly began to leave.
Wednesday night saw police cracking down hard on the rioters by using overwhelming manpower to encircle them and make arrests. With that still fresh in their minds, people began to leave the area on Thursday once it was curfew. The police tactic to just let the crowd leave on its own worked, resulting in a night of relative peace for the city for the first time since Sunday.
But perhaps the most worrying aspect of the crowd's makeup was that if they weren't ready to cause mayhem in the event they are unsatisfied with the verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial, they are now better prepared since the riots in Brooklyn Center gave them an opportunity to practice tactics and see what gear they need.
As I previously wrote, it looks like the fatal flaw with Operation Safety Net was how the cities outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul do not have extra reinforcements the Twin Cities have, potentially meaning rioters and looters will go to more valuable areas to wreak havoc. Time will tell on what will happen in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.