Brooklyn Center leaders announce new measures to deal with protests during tense meeting

The City of Brooklyn Center will be making contracts with several organizations as city leaders work to "stabilize" the ongoing protests following the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

The announcement came during a chaotic emergency city council meeting held over Zoom, which was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Thursday. Short notice appeared to cause a roughly 30-minute delay. At one point, Councilmember Kris Lawrence-Anderson chided Mayor Michael Elliott, saying she learned about the meeting from a community member "by accident" instead of receiving a call.

The council quickly moved to closed session, which lasted for two hours. 

Upon return, Acting City Manager Reggie Edwards announced the city will be establishing several contracts with a communications team to help hold regular press conferences to the media and community, an organization to provide interveners to help diffuse tension between protesters and police, and a company to clean up the area outside the police department after each nightly protest.

"We want to [create a space to protest] in a way that protects all of the protesters, all the police officers, protects the buildings, public facilities and businesses, so we want to protest, raise voices, but do so in a safe way," said Edwards.

Edwards said the city has plans to create a space for art by putting up plywoods boards so people can share a message.

"We know that this protest is simply not about Daunte Wright alone, although he exemplifies something that has been troubling the community for a very long time," said Edwards.

Mayor Elliott said another meeting would be held in the future to receive public comment. Some people who had been waiting for the meeting to resume from closed session expressed frustrations and spoke over the council members as they tried to adjourn.