Independent journalist Naasir Akailvi, who reports on social media as the Neighborhood Reporter, said he was detained and cited while reporting on a protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 13, 2021.
Demonstrations had been held for several days outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department in response to the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop on April 11. Wright’s death occurred as a former police officer in nearby Minneapolis was on trial in the death of George Floyd, rekindling a wave of protests against racial injustice and police brutality that had started nearly a year earlier.
Akailvi told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that late on the night of April 13 he was reporting as police pushed protesters away from the police station up Humboldt Avenue. He told the Tracker that he believed police had issued dispersal orders earlier in the night, but he hadn’t considered leaving because of them. There was a curfew in effect starting at 10 p.m., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune; it exempt members of the media.
Shortly before 11 p.m., Akailvi said, police had started to form a crowd-control technique called a “kettle,” which blocks people from leaving, in a gas station.
At one point, Akailvi said, he noticed that police were using batons to smash a car’s windows, and he moved closer to film the scene. Within seconds, he said, he felt someone grab him from behind. He said he was taken down to the ground and his wrists were constrained with zip ties.