Gino Fiebelkorn has taken to sleeping during the day, when the crowd outside his apartment is mostly camera crews and reporters. But by evening, he starts prepping for another night “in a war zone.”
He tapes up the back door frame of his garden-level apartment on Humboldt Avenue in Brooklyn Center — an attempt to keep out clouds of tear gas that have filled his neighborhood since Sunday night. And then he stations himself at the apartment building’s back door, prepared to pull in injured protesters and ward off troublemakers.
“It’s absolutely terrorizing,” he said as he wiped away welling tears. “I moved across from a police station because I thought it’d be safe.”
Fiebelkorn lives in Sterling Square Apartments, which is a group of four buildings with about 50 apartments directly across from the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
The block has been ground zero for mass demonstrations since Sunday, when 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop. Potter, who has since resigned from the Police Department, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter.
Law enforcement officers have clashed with the protesters, using tear gas, flash-bang grenades and projectiles to clear the crowds. For those living in the apartments nearby, that has meant finding bright green marking rounds and gas canisters landing on their balconies. It has meant sleepless nights of trying to watch through windows while fearing a projectile will fly through the glass. And even for those residents who did try going to bed, the coughing caused by the tear gas was often enough to keep them awake.
“My place smells like smoke and there are times when it’s hard to breathe,” said Jamiya Crayton, 24. She’s been stuffing wet towels around her windows, but it’s not enough, she said. Read more…