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Protests continue as police resignations fail to ease unrest over Minneapolis shooting

MINNEAPOLIS, USA: Despite the resignation of a police chief and of an officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota, unrest and protests continue unabated over Sunday’s killing.

Chief Tim Gannon and Officer Kim Potter quit the Brooklyn Center force on Tuesday.

The pair said she shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser.

Despite the resignation fresh clashes between police and protesters erupted for the third night.

The death happened in a suburb of Minneapolis, a city already on edge amid the trial of an ex-police officer accused of murdering George Floyd.

On Tuesday night bottles and other projectiles were thrown at police headquarters and officers responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

More than 60 people were arrested, Minnesota State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer told reporters.

Another demonstration broke out over the killing in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday night, with about 100 protesters marching on the Portland Police Association Building.

Flames were seen coming out of the side of the police building about an hour later. The Portland Police Bureau declared the gathering a riot.

Portland was the centre of mass demonstrations last year, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Speaking to reporters earlier, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said that he had appointed 19-year veteran Tony Gruenig to take over for Tim Gannon.

On Monday, Gannon had said that the shooting of Wright appeared to be an “accidental discharge” after Potter mistook her service pistol for a stun gun.

“I appreciate the officer stepping down,” the mayor said, adding that he hoped her leaving would “bring some calm to the community”.

Hundreds of protesters gathered for a third night of protests to express anger over the police killing of a Black man in the Minneapolis suburb as prosecutors decide whether to press charges against the officer authorities say shot him.

Washington County Prosecutor Pete Orput voiced hope to have a charging decision regarding former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by Wednesday.

“I hope to have a charging decision by tomorrow,” Orput said in an email Tuesday afternoon. “I just received voluminous documents and with enough coffee I’ll have something tomorrow.”

Wright’s death during a traffic stop Sunday, which then Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said appeared to be the result of Potter mistaking her gun for her Taser had sparked widespread anger.

Protests, some violent, have taken place each night while related developments have occurred in quick succession, including the release of body camera footage on Monday and the resignation of Potter and Gannon by Tuesday.

The third day of protest began peacefully, but by Tuesday evening, there was chaos around the Brooklyn Center police station. Officers used pepper spray and fired flash bombs at protesters, who hurled water bottles and other projectiles at officers in riot gear.

Sunday’s killing of Wright is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man during a police encounter in the Minneapolis area in the past five years, after the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights in 2016 and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.