In Minneapolis, armed patrol groups are trying to maintain peace

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. – As protests intensified in the suburbs of Minneapolis, where police officers killed Daunte Wright, a group of black men joined the crowd to maintain peace and prevent the protests from developing into violence.

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the well-guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday when former white officer Kim Potter shot a 20-year-old black driver while transportation was stopped. .. Despite the mayor’s call to law enforcement and protesters to reduce their tactics, nights were often thrown, ending with tear gas and arrests.


A black man at the edge of the crowd is in a protective vest to show that he is a member of the Minnesota Freedom Fighters, a group formed to provide security to the northern neighborhood of Minneapolis in the post-mortem anxiety of George Floyd last year. I am wearing a yellow patch. They aren’t shy about throwing a powerful image — the group’s Facebook page features members posing with attack-style weapons, describing themselves as an “elite security unit” — but Friday. Freedom fighters seem unarmed and said they intended only to encourage peaceful protests.

Freedom fighters communicated with each other via walkie-talkies as some people began rattling the fences protecting the Brooklyn Center police station. They refused to say how many people were in their group.

Last night, the Freedom Fighters moved through the crowd in dark clothes with body armor, past demonstrators wielding umbrellas, and created a separation along the security fence around the two layers. Their passive tactics aim to relieve tensions, prevent agitators from moving forward, and stimulate law enforcement officers who are paying attention with ready-to-use pepperballs and less deadly grenade launchers. is.


“We can keep it peaceful,” said Tyrone Hartwell, a 36-year-old former US Marine in the group. “There are always people in the group who want to instigate something,” he added, throwing things at the police out of focus from their demands for justice and infiltrating energy from the movement.

Minneapolis is at stake — watching the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin at the same time as Floyd’s death, while rewinding from Wright’s shooting. In it, Hartwell said that while freedom fighters are trying to promote a movement for racial justice, they repel violence and destruction that often have a serious impact on the minority community.


Hartwell pointed to an apartment opposite the Brooklyn Center police station. There, residents complain that tear gas is flowing into their homes. He said they suffer when clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators escalate.

The group was formed after the NAACP called on armed men to organize and protect their neighborhood from looting and arson after Floyd’s death. Hartwell said white groups entered the predominantly black community and harassed children.

When the group came together, Hartwell formed ties with other black men and mentored them when they played an active role in protecting the neighborhood.

“We care about our community,” he said. “We all have children, so we have to start home first.”


We also have relationships with the city and the police. A city spokeswoman said there were some “formal and informal relationships” with members of the Freedom Fighter, but because it is an armed group, it does not fund or contract the organization. ..

However, some demonstrators said these relationships meant that free fighter acts at the request of police and were not aggressive enough to ask them for clarification.

As the crowd grew on Friday, the umbrella demonstrators became bolder. The chanting of “Killing of Daunte” and “George Floyd” has replaced insults to the police. A handful of freedom fighters were visibly angry at the heightened tension and refused to leave at the prompt of their peers. They grabbed the umbrella, calmed down, and begged outsiders to stop escalating.

A false flash van canister exploded overhead, cluttering the crowd and giving those eager to confront law enforcement the opportunity to move forward to Flaca. The Freedom Fighter disappeared in the turmoil and could not prevent the quarrel after the night of peaceful protest fell into turmoil.



Find the Associated Press’s full coverage of Dauntelite’s death: https: //

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In Minneapolis, armed patrol groups are trying to maintain peace

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