The Potluck

Woman arrested in bathrobe held in jail without bail on probable cause for rioting

By: - April 15, 2021 5:28 pm

Samira Hassan sits on the curb in front of an apartment complex in Brooklyn Center on April 14, 2021, as law enforcement cleared the area of people protesting the police killing of Daunte Wright. Photo by Nicole Neri/Minnesota Reformer.

Editor’s note: Several significant factual errors have been corrected in this story after the Reformer learned Samira Hassan was not truthful in an interview on Wednesday night. 

Samira Hassan said she lived in a nearby apartment building. She lives in St. Paul, and drove to Brooklyn Center to pick up her 16-year-old brother who was at the protest after it was declared an unlawful assembly. 

In an interview on Friday night with her lawyer Kevin Riach present, Hassan said she lied to the Reformer because she believed the police nearby could hear her and wouldn’t arrest her if they thought she lived in the adjacent building. 

Hassan also said she had to go to work that night at a hospital. She does not work in a hospital. Hassan said she made up the job hoping to inspire sympathy from police in case they overheard the interview. 

Hassan said during the Wednesday interview that she was stopped the week before in Brooklyn Center by police for an air freshener hanging around her rearview mirror. That is not true. Hassan said her sister was stopped by police for an air freshener in West St. Paul. Because Hassan said her sister was released without a citation, the Reformer was not able to verify the claim. 

Hassan was released from jail on Thursday night and charged with unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor. 

A 20-year-old woman is still in jail after being tackled and arrested by police near the police station where demonstrators protested the police killing of Daunte Wright.

Samira Hassan was standing outside in her bathrobe as some 600 state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and National Guard soldiers pushed demonstrators away from the Brooklyn Center police station and the surrounding residential neighborhood after the protest of the police killing of Daunte Wright was declared an unlawful assembly.

As law enforcement stood shoulder-to-shoulder in riot gear around a nearby apartment building, she expressed bafflement. “I don’t see why all these cops are necessary. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Hassan told the Reformer just moments before she was forcibly brought to the ground and handcuffed.

For the third night in a row, Brooklyn Center residents were under a curfew and ordered to stay in their homes except for essential travel.

Hassan had been protesting earlier that night.

“I just wanted everything to stop. What’s happening is unacceptable” Hassan said. “The cops killing people … for no reason.”

She came to Brooklyn Center to pick up her brother who stayed at the protest after it was declared an unlawful assembly and a curfew went into effect at 10 p.m.

The area was mostly cleared of all demonstrators, with about a dozen journalists monitoring as police moved in tight formation in between apartment buildings.

Hassan’s brother, standing nearby, expressed exasperation that Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death, was released hours after being booked into jail.

Minutes after talking to the Reformer, Hassan and her brother were arrested by State Patrol officers. The incident was recorded by Unicorn Riot.

Jail records show Hassan is being held in jail without bail as of Thursday evening on probable cause for rioting.

More than 130 people were arrested over four nights of protests in Brooklyn Center. There are 17 people currently in jail for protesting, 16 of whom are being held on probable cause riot and one on probable cause for obstruction. All will be released at noon tomorrow, unless State Patrol files charges by then, according to Jeremy Zoss, a spokesman for Hennepin County.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.