Duluth Police Chief Explains Response To Overnight Unrest

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken spoke at a morning press conference Sunday after tensions boiled over overnight by a group of around 100 protesters that became unruly for hours in Lincoln Park.

The center of the activity was around the Kwik Trip at 27th Avenue West and Superior Street.

Cell phone video showed a Kwik Trip employee being punched and kicked in the parking lot at one point after he tried to lock up the convenience store from looters, according to police.

No arrests had been made in that case as of late Sunday.

The victim suffered broken ribs and was recovering at home Sunday night.

Kwik Trip was back open Sunday and closed early as a precaution.

And for the first time in more than 20 years, Duluth police used tear gas to disperse the crowd in Lincoln Part at around 1 a.m. after reports of shots fired.

“As the evening went on, our intent to work with people, to negotiate with people, to have people cooperate– didn’t happen — ultimately gave dispersal order, waited minutes, gave a second dispersal order, ultimately at that time we deployed gas so that we could disperse the crowd. We just didn’t have voluntary compliance,” Tusken said.

The tear gas was used three hours after Mayor Larson set a mandatory curfew of 10 p.m. Saturday.  And it also came after around 1,000 people peacefully marched through downtown Duluth to City Hall to speak out about injustices against people of color following the death of George Floyd who was in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

In all, 11 people were arrested Saturday for damage to property, felony third-degree riot and assaulting an officer among other charges.

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