Two protests in Stillwater last week were by and large very peaceful and orderly, according to Stillwater Police Chief Brian Mueller.
The first, on Friday, was organized by some high school students to protest the death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center and remained peaceful.
The second, on Saturday afternoon, saw 150-200 protesters march toward the home of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. Orput was assigned the initial investigation and charging of former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter. His office issued a charge of second degree manslaughter against her earlier in the week.
The protest group, led by attorney and Black Lives Matter activist Nakima Levy Armstrong gathered outside Orput’s, demanding stronger charges against Potter. At one point, Orput came out of his home and spoke with Levy Armstrong.
During the protest, a man who lives in the area tried to pass through the marchers, and an altercation ensued, including some shoving by him and a protester, according to local law enforcement. Officers immediately stepped in and led the man away from the scene, Mueller said, and the situation was quickly de-escalated. Later the man was apologetic and no charges were filed.Except for that incident, there was no trouble during either protest, he said.
Mueller said his department is very committed to offering people the chance to use their First Amendment rights to speak out, but also committed to keeping the community and its residents safe.
Stillwater not Stillwater
The encounter was however recorded by several people at the scene and received many views on social media.
The social media attention also took the conversation to quite a different location – to Stillwater, Oklahoma. The incident drew enough attention that the Oklahoma police department posted on its Facebook page:
“There has been confusion about an incident over the weekend involving police response in Stillwater, Minnesota. This page is for the City of Stillwater, Oklahoma, which had nothing to do with the incident.”
Chief Mueller said he has talked with the police chief in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and both shared that they do regularly receive calls for the other. “Sometimes we can tell right away by the accent that the caller is probably not from Minnesota,” Mueller said.