A 28-year-old man has been charged with throwing a metal garbage can lid at a police sergeant during unrest last week in downtown Minneapolis after false rumors spread that a man who shot and killed himself had been shot by police.
Brayshaun L. Gibson of Minneapolis was charged Friday in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of assault, one count of rioting with a dangerous weapon and one count of burglary with intent to commit a felony or gross misdemeanor.
The attack rendered the police officer unconscious and required his hospitalization for possible spinal damage, according to the charges. It took place on the evening of Aug. 26 in the 600 block of Nicollet Mall.
According to the charges, the sergeant was getting into his squad car near the site where an angry crowd was gathered when Gibson threw a 15-pound metal garbage can lid at him, striking him in the head and knocking him out. A Star Tribune photo of the incident shows the sergeant lying unconscious on the ground.
The incident was captured by nearby surveillance cameras that showed Gibson at the scene, then fleeing and putting on a black jacket before entering the Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th Street department store through a window broken by rioters. Videos also showed him, along with others, leaving the store with stolen goods, then entering a vehicle parked near 1st Avenue and 6th Street that had been linked to an earlier burglary. The victim in that burglary had reported a connection to Gibson, the complaint said.
When police found Gibson, he admitted the car was his and that he was downtown during the unrest. "After receiving the appropriate constitutional warnings, Defendant admitted he became enraged over misinformation about officers shooting someone downtown, only to learn later that it was a suicide," the charges say. "He stated he regretted ... getting involved in the 'chaos' and acknowledged he now had to face the consequences."
The dramatic events of Aug. 26 began in midafternoon when police responded to a report of a shooting at Ramp A in the area of N. 10th Street and Currie Avenue. Eddie George Gordon, 61, died at the scene. Gordon had been in a dispute with a woman and the suspect, Eddie Frank Sole Jr., 38, who fired the fatal shot.
The woman was arrested a short time later. As police closed in on Sole along the mall, he fatally shot himself, an incident captured on video.
The unrest that followed resulted in two nights of curfew and deployment of the National Guard downtown.
Gibson is being held in the Hennepin County jail.
The police sergeant has been released from the hospital but continues to receive physical therapy for his injures, authorities said Friday.