Police Force Against MN Protesters Renews Debate Over Tactics

State and local law enforcement response to police protests in Minnesota is drawing new scrutiny, with the Daunte Wright shooting and the Derek Chauvin trial.

Over the weekend, more than 100 medical professionals held a rally in Brooklyn Center a week after Wright, who was Black, was fatally shot by a police officer.

The incident set off several nights of protests, where authorities clashed with demonstrators with officers deploying tear gas and non-lethal projectiles.

Erika Kaske, a medical student at the University of Minnesota, is among those decrying the use of these tactics.

“We want people in Minnesota to be able to express their voice and their concerns in a safe way,” Kaske explained. “Unfortunately, we worry if the use of these weapons continues, it’s in our findings that protesters might become patients.”

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published Kaske’s research on local emergency room visits stemming from last year’s protests after George Floyd’s murder.

She said dozens required immediate care, including for injuries from rubber bullets. Some 40% were head, face and neck injuries, which Kaske said goes against United Nations guidelines.

Some in law enforcement say the methods are required to protect residents and property when protests escalate.

But community activists argue law enforcement often incites tension with its “militarized” look following a controversial incident.

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