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US Protests of Police Shootings Remain Peaceful

A protester holding a sign reading 'Stop Killing Us' navigates along Chicago's Loop during a peaceful protest, April 14, 2021, ahead of the video release of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Cities in two Midwestern U.S. states -- Minnesota and Illinois -- had braced Thursday for a night of unrest that did not materialize. Peaceful protesters did, however, take to the streets in an on-edge Minneapolis suburb and in Chicago to demonstrate against police shootings of young males of color.

Demonstrators in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, gathered in front of the police station Thursday to protest the shooting Sunday of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was bi-racial and the father of a 1-year old son. Wright was pulled over on a traffic stop by Officer Kim Potter.

Potter said she thought she had pulled her Taser to use on Wright, but instead pulled her gun. She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, but protesters want Potter, who is white, to face more serious charges.

Earlier Thursday, Chicago police released the body camera footage of the officer who shot Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Hispanic boy, in March. Several protests sprang up in Chicago after the footage was released. In one of the protests, demonstrators marched to the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police, but none of the demonstrations erupted into violence.

In a portion of the Chicago video, a police officer can be heard saying, "Hey show me your ******* hands, drop it, drop it." The boy appears to drop something and then as he turns and puts his hand up, he is shot and then falls to the ground. Police say the officer was in a life-threatening situation.

Chicago’s police accountability office had said it could not release the video because the victim was a minor but released it after numerous requests. Chicago has a history of suppressing police videos.

In Brooklyn Center protesters have demonstrated in front of the police station every night since Wright’s shooting, with police sometimes using rubber bullets and gas grenades in skirmishes with protesters.

Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis where George Floyd, a Black man, died last year after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Chauvin’s trial is currently underway in Minneapolis.