St. Cloud police use tear gas to disperse crowd, arrest nearly 40 after another night of unrest

Unrest in St. Cloud, Minnesota continued overnight as police reported numerous arrests after a crowd vandalized a liquor store.

At about 10:20 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a report of multiple gunshots in the area of 9th Avenue and University Drive South. When officers arrived, they found multiple people running from the area. No victims were located.

While officers were investigating the shots fired call, numerous people started to congregate in the area. Officials said that by 10:50 p.m., about 200 people had gathered. The crowd then blocked traffic while some in the crowd threw rocks at both officers and passing vehicles.  At 11 p.m. officers observed sections of the crowd break glass in the front doors of the Southtown Liquor Store. Multiple people from the crowd went into the store, stealing items and causing damage.

Officers then moved in and stopped the looting. Authorities said officers warned the crowd to disperse, and, as rocks continued to be thrown and "the crowd showed no signs of dispersing," chemical crowd control munitions were used. 

During the next few hours, officers responded to more reports of unlawful assemblies, multiple reports of gunshots fired, several reports of assaults within the crowd, reports of rocks being thrown and three dumpster fires. One man suffered minor injuries.

Multiple officers were hit by rocks, but no significant injuries were reported.

By the end of the night, 37 adults and 2 juveniles were taken into custody for charges relating to unlawful assembly. One adult was taken into custody on burglary charges relating to the looting of Southtown Liquor.

The unrest follows a night when about 100 people protested outside of a police station after a Twitter post falsely claimed police had shot and killed as many as two black men. The incident the false Twitter post referenced, however, involved an 18-year-old man shooting a police officer in the hand during an arrest. 

The suspect has since been charged with assault.

The officer is out of surgery and recovering.