Disturbances have erupted in St. Cloud following an altercation earlier this week during which a suspect allegedly fired a gun and struck a police officer in the hand.
St. Cloud, MN police initially released a statement saying that just after midnight on June 15, officers were attempting to stop and detain an 18-year-old male suspect, later identified as Sumaree Deashan Boose, when he fled on foot. Officers chased the suspect and when they caught up to him, he physically resisted arrest.
During the struggle Boose produced a handgun and discharged it striking one of the officers in the hand. Officers did not return fire, the press release stated.
Please see the attached media release regarding an incident that occurred earlier this morning. Rumors on social media have been inaccurately reporting what actually happened. Refer to the media release below. pic.twitter.com/VxbOo4nPCw
— SCPD (@StCloudPDMN) June 15, 2020
Following the incident, false rumors circulated on social media stating that police had shot two black men, and about 100 people subsequently started making their way to the police station and damaging property on the way early Monday morning, a local report said.
The crowd was not able to get into the police station, and police used a chemical irritant to disperse the crowd. A handful of people were reportedly arrested following the incident.
Authorities held a press conference later on Monday morning about the incidents. Addressing the misinformation spread on social media, Mayor Dave Kleis said, “Misinformation that’s on social media is not only wrong, that information is dangerous.”
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson then said that the altercation involving Boose met the parameters for use of deadly force, but he praised the officers’ professionalism and restraint for not firing back.
“What I’m hearing across the nation is people asking, ‘well what constitutes the use of deadly force’? This did. And our officers showed great restraint, great professionalism because that’s how we do what we do here in Saint Cloud,” Chief Anderson said.
Despite the statements by authorities refuting the false information, the unruly crowds gathered for a second night, overnight Monday to Tuesday. There were reports of shots fired, a dumpster set on fire, rocks thrown at vehicles and a liquor store looted. Police again used tear gas to disperse the crowd and 37 adults and two juveniles taken into custody.
Boose is facing one charge of first-degree assault – use of deadly force against a peace officer and remains in custody at Stearns County Jail on $400,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on June 24.
Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota