During a press conference on Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon sparred with the press after a reporter tried to stop him from calling the destruction and violence outside of Minneapolis on Sunday a riot.
“Just so everybody is clear, I was front and center at the protest, at the riot,” Gannon said.
Before he could continue the press conference, Gannon faced disputes from multiple reporters who took issue with his use of the word “riot” and demanded that he stop using it.
“It was not a riot,” one reporter shot back.
“There was no riot,” another reporter warned, joined by other members of the press who said, “don’t do that.”
Gannon quickly shut down the allegation from the media by explaining that multiple officers were “putting themselves in harm’s way” as objects rained down on them.
“It was [a riot],” he replied. “The officers that were putting themselves in harm’s way were being pelted with frozen cans of pop, they were being pelted with concrete blocks. And yes, we had our helmets on and we had other protection here but an officer was injured: hit in the head with a brick…he was transported to the hospital. We had to make decisions. We had to disperse the crowd because we can’t allow our officers to be harmed.”
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Gannon: "I was front and center… at the riot."
Reporter: "There was no riot."
Gannon: "There was… the officers that were putting themselves in harm's way were being pelted with frozen cans of pop, they were being pelted with concrete blocks." pic.twitter.com/aM5rfjYpxx
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 12, 2021
Reporters’ attempt to pressure Gannon to avoid using “riot” follows the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black male who died after an officer shot him at a traffic stop. Wright reportedly drove “several blocks before crashing into another vehicle” to evade arrest for an outstanding warrant for possessing a firearm without a permit last June.
During the press conference, Gannon claimed the officer who shot Wright may have been reaching for her taser but accidentally fired her gun instead.
Wright’s death sparked riots and looting throughout the Twin Cities as agitated crowds gathered at the scene to protest the shooting by attacking police cars, scuffling with officers in riot gear, and throwing various objects at police while threatening to keep the rioting going “all summer like it did last time.” Other rioters covered the Brooklyn Center police department building with graffiti and Wright’s name, prompting law enforcement to deploy “tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets on the crowd.”
Last summer, corporate media repeatedly downplayed the violence and destruction that plagued cities such as Minneapolis in exchange for terminology that described the chaos as “mostly peaceful protests.”