Jun 16, 2020

St. Cloud Police Use Tear Gas On Large Crowd Near University Drive After Reports of Gunshots

By Blake Theisen / KVSC News Director / @btheisen24

St. Cloud Police used tear gas and other chemical irritants to disperse a large crowd that had gathered at a crime scene near South Town Liquor early Tuesday morning. One officer confirmed to KVSC at 12:41 a.m. that gunshots had been fired and that the scene was active.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, police warned the large crowd gathered near the intersection of Ninth Avenue South and University Drive that the gathering was considered an unlawful assembly. Police threatened to arrest to arrest people gathered if they did not move back. Law enforcement then administered tear gas into clusters of the crowd.

At the time of this writing, a minimum of 20 people were arrested for not complying with police orders to move away from the initial crime scene.

Some demonstrators gathered in the crowd chanted “Let them go,” as police arrested two women on University Drive.

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Two small fires were also started off of University Drive after police pushed back the line of people. The first fire was a dumpster that was initially set ablaze in an alley way and then pushed out onto the road. The fire was extinguished by the St. Cloud Fire Department. Another blaze lasted just a few moments near a street sign before bystanders put it out.

Just before midnight Tuesday, an incident occurred near South Town Liquor that required officers to administer tear gas for the first time of the night. The owner of South Town Liquor did confirm to some bystanders that his store had been broken into, but declined to comment on the situation to KVSC reporters. No further details of that incident are available at this time.

Tuesday morning unrest comes a day after a St. Cloud police officer was shot in the hand by a suspect during an arrest. That incident sparked false social media rumors which led to unrest outside of the St. Cloud police department in the early hours of Monday morning.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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