Well after an 11 p.m. curfew went into effect Saturday, a few passionate but peaceful protesters lingered outside the Brooklyn Center police station, and law enforcement maintained its nightlong low profile.
The crowd, estimated at about 350 at its largest, had dwindled to about 100 people as midnight approached, and it appeared that the night would end quietly, with no dispersal or arrests.
The gathering marked the seventh straight nights of protests in the city, which has been shaken by last Sunday's police killing of Daunte Wright, 20, and the large, sometimes chaotic nightly protests held every night since.
Friday night ended on a chaotic note when law enforcement rushed in to disperse a large, increasingly volatile crowd, making several arrests. Law enforcement leaders and many protesters had expressed hope that Saturday night would end more peacefully than Friday, citing Thursday's experience, when law enforcement held off on any dispersal tactics and protesters left on their own volition.
Reginald Edwards, Brooklyn Center's acting city manager, issued a statement Sunday confirming that demonstrations Saturday remained peaceful.
"We are pleased to share that the city of Brooklyn Center had a quiet night on Saturday," according to the statement. "There were an estimated 350 peaceful protestors and we heard from a variety of voices. Thank you to the many community groups who brought food and relief supplies and to those who aided our staff throughout the day."
As midnight approached Saturday, some protesters stood close to the chain-link fences around the station, but there was no attempt to breach the fences or actions on the part of law enforcement. Late in the protest, a few people who shook the fences and advocated for extreme measures were dispersed by other protesters who argued for a more peaceful approach.
Operation Safety Net, the law enforcement coalition that has been guarding the Brooklyn Center station, said late Saturday that it would not be holding an early-morning news conference to talk about the night's protest and any arrests, an indication that the night had ended peacefully.
Close to curfew time, the crowd got a visit from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who spoke to members of the crowd about the need for reform in policing and said she supports murder rather than manslaughter charges against Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer accused of fatally shooting Wright.
Earlier, national civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, came by, offering hugs, fist bumps and reassurances to emotional protesters, saying he will return Sunday afternoon with Wright's family. He spoke briefly with Daunte's brother, Damik Wright.
Early on, a crowd congregated in front of the fence. Pinned to it, in white letters, were the words "Stop State Terror."
Logan O'Connor, 6, stood on a concrete barrier with a bullhorn shouting, "Say his name!"
"Daunte Wright!" the crowd shouted back.
Logan's father, Obediah O'Connor, has brought him to join in protests on several evenings. They live near George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis, and he said he wants his son to learn how to support other people, particularly people of color.
"He's got to know how to stand up for people," Obediah said. He added that they wouldn't stay late into the evening, when tensions sometimes build and things starting get thrown at police.
"What I can do is teach my son " he said. Pointing to Logan and two other children, O'Connor said, "This is the change."
Across the street from the station, one group barbecued while another offered "safety kits" featuring water, sports drinks and snacks.
Another group of several dozen people, most from the nearby Kenyan Community Seventh-day Adventist Church, marched down the street singing. They paused outside the station.
The Rev. Ezra Kenyanya took a microphone and prayed for peace in the city and for Wright's family. "This incident will not divide us," he said, adding that in God's eyes, all people are equal, Black or white.
The past week has been difficult for the church, which is close to the police station. On some nights, members got stuck inside the church after curfew was called.
As he prayed, Kenyanya called for peace for Wright's family, for the city and for police.
"Striking that [balance] is hard," he said. "But it needs to be done."
In his prayer, Kenyanya acknowledged the deep pain that followed Wright's death and reminded people that he believes God is just. He said he also tried to project a message of love and mercy.
"It takes the right mind to fight for human rights," he said.
Also Saturday, a small group of protesters gathered outside Washington County Attorney Pete Orput's house, demanding murder charges against Potter. She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright's death.
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