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Fourth night of protests in Brooklyn Center ends in fewer arrests

Plus: Kim Potter expected to make first court appearance; defense medical expert testifies that George Floyd’s manner of death ‘undetermined’; Hutchinson man arrested after assaulting Menards employee and hitting police officer with car, hammer; and more.

A sheriff's deputy uses pepper spray at the fenced up perimeters of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as protests continue days after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center.
A sheriff's deputy uses pepper spray at the fenced up perimeters of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as protests continue days after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center.
REUTERS/Nick Pfosi

The Star Tribune’s Liz Sawyer and John Reinan write: “In the tense hour after a 10 p.m. curfew went into effect Wednesday night in Brooklyn Center, law enforcement cleared a dwindling crowd of protesters outside the city’s police headquarters, arresting 24 people, authorities said. For a fourth night, hundreds had gathered outside the fenced-in Brooklyn Center Police Department, most of them peaceful, but some hurling objects at law enforcement, which included National Guard members, State Patrol officers and Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies. … By 10:30, many protesters had left after a fourth dispersal order, but those who remained grew tense and verbally defiant as sirens sounded and law enforcement officers congregated en masse nearby.”

For MPR, Peter Cox and Matt Sepic write: “Protests continued for a fourth day after a Brooklyn Center police officer shot and killed Daunte Wright. Another large crowd gathered Wednesday after the former officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter. Kim Potter is expected to make her first appearance Thursday. Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents arrested Potter and booked her into Hennepin County Jail Wednesday. She resigned from the department Tuesday.

For the Root, Michael Harriot says, “Daunte Wright’s story is not an outlier. Every day, the people who are paid to protect us from crime engage in the practice of debt collection. Furthermore, the majority of this money extraction scheme falls on the backs of Black and brown Americans. … An NYU study shows that increased revenue collection actually decreases the percentage of crimes that police departments solve. When WBEZ and ProPublica Illinois looked at more than 50 million tickets issued in Chicago, they found that Chicagoans paid $2.8 billion in fines and citations, but had $1.8 billion in outstanding debt to the city.”

Also in the Star Tribune, David Chanen writes: “The fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday is drawing fresh attention to two minor infractions in Minnesota law that many motorists might not realize can prompt a pullover. Minnesota law forbids motorists from driving without current license tabs, and it also bans motorists from driving with anything obstructing the windshield, including air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror. Wright’s killing reignited longstanding debate on social media and elsewhere about racial profiling as studies have shown that Black motorists are more likely to be pulled over for these types of infractions.

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MPR’s Riham Feshir, Brandt Williams, Jon Collins and Dan Gunderson report: “Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney called a medical expert to the stand Wednesday who concluded that George Floyd’s manner of death is ‘undetermined,’ countering the Hennepin County medical examiner’s ruling that it was a homicide. A key witness for the defense, retired Maryland medical examiner Dr. David Fowler testified that Floyd died of cardiac arrhythmia during the police restraint, but that methamphetamine and fentanyl, carbon monoxide exposure from the squad car, tumors and adrenaline all contributed to his death. … Fowler’s testimony is meant to sow doubt on a parade of medical experts testifiying for the state who said police actions — including Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck — are what killed him.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bob Shaw writes: “Funding for the $532 million Gold Line project got a green light from a federal agency, the Metropolitan Council announced Wednesday. The project received an upgraded rating of ‘medium-high’ – which means it’s likely that the Federal Transit Administration will pay 45 percent of the project cost. ‘We are feeling very good about this,’ said Gold Line project director Christine Beckwith. The project has been in limbo since January 2020 when it received a rating of ‘medium-low’ — which isn’t high enough to get the federal financing.”

KSTP-TV reports: “A Hutchinson man was arrested Wednesday after assaulting a Menards employee and later dragging a police officer with his car and hitting him with a hammer. …The altercation reportedly began with a dispute over wearing a mask. The 61-year-old man left the store but was spotted by an officer shortly after in the Walmart parking lot just down the road. The officer tried to stop the vehicle but was led on a low-speed pursuit that ended when the man stopped about a block away, near Highway 15 and Freemont. Police say the officer tried to engage the man through the driver-side window, he got stuck, and the driver took off with the officer hanging onto the vehicle. The suspect hit the officer in the head with a hammer during the struggle.”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “With the stated goal of creating housing for a wide range of income levels, Mayor Melvin Carter on Wednesday vetoed a recent St. Paul City Council vote against a major housing development planned near the intersection of Lexington Parkway and University Avenue. The rare veto from the mayor is likely to intensify a public discussion on how best to meet the city’s housing needs. The proposed 288-unit, $57 million Alatus project had raised opposition from the Frogtown Neighborhood Association and social justice groups worried that market-rate leases would price out local residents and ultimately raise property taxes in the low-to-moderate income area. The St. Paul Planning Commission voted 8-7 in January to deny a site plan to the Minneapolis-based developer, a decision that was supported last week by a sharply divided council.”