Some Brooklyn Center residents are leaving their neighborhoods to avoid the noise from police flashbangs and stray projectiles. The Associated Press reported people were staying in hotels or with relatives to avoid tear gas coming into their homes.
“We can’t just have our window open anymore without thinking about if there’s going to be some gas coming in,” said 16-year-old Xzavion Martin, adding that rubber bullets and other projectiles have landed on his apartment’s second-story balcony. “There’s kids in this building that are really scared to come back.”
Mike Elliott, mayor of the Minneapolis suburb, called for police to stop using pepper spray and other controversial so-called non-violent “crowd control” tactics. Sunday marked a week since Daunte Wright’s life was taken by a 26-year veteran of the force who was also the police union president.
He tweeted Saturday that protections for journalists covering the protests should be extended to residents. A recent court order prevents police from using flash-bang grenades, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and other mechanisms on the press.
City officials forbade local law enforcement from using tear gas and other tactics such as chokeholds and police lines. The drawback comes with the coordination with other police agencies, not under the city’s jurisdiction.
The city’s resolution does not apply to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota National Guard. Gov. Tim Walz expressed concern about police tactics but claimed police were only trying to protect the community.
Balancing support from other law enforcement agencies with minimizing harm to residents, Elliott has asked responding agencies not to engage protesters unnecessarily.
This comes after many journalists were attacked by police responding in Brooklyn Center. Despite showing her credentials and identifying herself as a member of the press, CNN producer Carolyn Sung was roughly arrested and put on a prison transport bus to Hennepin County Jail.
A state trooper reportedly yelled at Sung, “do you speak English?” Her primary language is English. It took two hours before Sung was located by an attorney working to free her. Two photojournalists with the New York Times reported harassment from officers as well.
The use of certain tactics, including the deployment of tear gas and rubber bullets, has been a widely discussed topic. Compare the response to protests of police killings with the Capitol attack.
A recent report on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack indicated Capitol Police officers were limited in using flash-bang grenades but could not use tear gas or other “aggressive tactics.” Footage reviewed during last summer’s racial-justice protests showed police escalated confrontations in many instances.