Brooklyn Center has spent $322,000 on expenses ranging from security to communications firms in the aftermath of the police killing of Daunte Wright last month — and the tab is likely to rise.
City officials are expecting to incur even more expenses with protests likely to continue as legal proceedings against former police officer Kim Potter proceed. Though there has been a lull lately, "there is going to be extended need for communication, extended needs for barricades for streets and extended need for security throughout the period of trial," acting City Manager Reginald Edwards said during a City Council meeting Monday in which he laid out the expenditures.
In the days immediately following the shooting, the city made contracts totaling about $100,000 with nonprofits that specialize in de-escalation and sent interveners to help reduce tension and keep protests peaceful. With their arrival, the city reduced the number of officers on the front line, Edwards said.
"Those measures allowed us to have a less volatile protest, if you will," he said. "Clearly there were bad actors, agitators who were there to not peacefully protest. Those organizations were critical in allowing us to de-escalate the area where protesters were and create that safe space as much as possible."
The city awarded an $88,000 contract to Our Sister's Keeper to provide social services and crisis management to residents living near the city's police station, which was the epicenter of the protests, city documents show. About 400 housing units were impacted by the unrest, Edwards said.
Other large expenses included $48,000 to W&W Protection to provide security to nearby apartments after some motorists drove on lawns and people burglarized buildings in the days after Wright's death.
The city also paid MRRP Communications $55,000 to establish a crisis management team and help handle communication after the city was inundated with requests from local, national and international media. Scores of journalists in town for the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis also covered the Wright case.
Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Wright during an April 11 traffic stop in which she mistook her firearm for a Taser, according to police. The killing sparked protests that at times drew more than 1,100 people per night to Brooklyn Center and thrust the north metro city into the international spotlight.
Brooklyn Center had one full-time communications manager and a part-time graphics designer on staff, but the communications manager was on medical leave when the unrest broke out.
"We had no one in-house doing communication," Edwards said.
The city had smaller expenses, too, including costs for erecting fences around the police station to keep law enforcement separated from protesters and setting up barriers on streets to manage traffic flow.
Edwards said the city has met with county, state and federal officials and with foundations to secure funding to help pay the bills. Brooklyn Center's general fund budget in recent years has hovered around $20 million.
"None of this is something we budgeted for or anticipated for, and it is fairly spendy," Edwards said. "We know it will go on for the duration of the trial."
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768