A man was fatally shot by Minneapolis police after a traffic stop turned into an exchange of gunfire Wednesday evening near a gas station in Minneapolis, according to law enforcement officials.
A felony suspect who was pulled over during a traffic stop opened fire on police officers, according to witness statements, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a press conference Wednesday. The suspect was fatally shot by police, no other injuries were reported.
The department will release the body camera footage from the incident on Thursday, Arradondo said. He added that if protests turn into civil unrest that the department will attempt to peacefully resolve the situation.
“We want to do everything we can to protect everyone’s first amendment rights to freely assemble, to demonstrate, but I say again, we cannot allow for destructive, criminal behavior. Our city has gone through too much,” Arradondo said.
Arradondo asked demonstrators at the crime scene Wednesday night to allow law enforcement to complete their investigation without disrupting the scene. He said Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been kept up to date.
A large crowd gathered at the scene of the incident and remained peaceful throughout the night, according to Minnesota Public Radio reporter Jon Collins who posted updates to Twitter throughout the night. Collins was outside when he heard gunshots and provided updates until just after 2 a.m.
I was outside in south Minneapolis tonight when I heard a series of loud bangs (at least seven). It was followed quickly by the sound of sirens. Minneapolis police now confirming that a man was shot and killed after they say gunfire was exchanged with officers. pic.twitter.com/Jg02LZ8IFx
— Jon Collins (@JonSCollins) December 31, 2020
Arradondo emphasized that the police department will protect demonstrator’s first amendment rights, though he urged them to remain peaceful and asked them to avoid criminal conduct or behavior for everyone’s safety. Specifically, he asked the demonstrators not to throw rocks, bottles or “ice chunks” at officers.
“It’s about keeping our city safe, it’s about keeping peace in our city right now,” Arradondo said. (RELATED: Minneapolis City Council Cuts The Police Department’s Budget, But Not Number Of Officers)
Minneapolis police officers reportedly asked over a scanner to use a “chemical irritant” on protesters, Washington Post reporter Holly Bailey tweeted. Officers then asked to use less-lethal rounds to respond to protesters throwing “ice balls,” but a supervisor declined both requests.
Per scanner, Minneapolis police officers at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting tonight are asking permission to use a “chemical irritant” on protesters at the scene. Informed situation doesn’t meet dept rules, officer asked for more backup to deal with growing crowd
— Holly Bailey (@hollybdc) December 31, 2020
Convoys of armored trucks and vehicles were seen moving into place around the crime scene, according to a reporter who asked a question at the press release. Arradondo said it was a precautionary move to keep the peace in the city and the neighborhoods that have experienced trauma.
Arradondo said he was unaware if there was a verbal exchange between officers and the subject before the shooting. He was reluctant to comment on details of the investigation before releasing the body camera footage due to the community’s sensitivity to the incident.
The MPD didn’t respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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