ST. ANTHONY, Minn. – The National Night Out -- or Night to Unite, as it’s known in some communities -- took on a different meaning this year in the wake of police shootings and violence against officers.
In St. Anthony, it was the first chance for Jon Mangseth to attend since becoming the city’s police chief.
It’s also his first since one of his officers, Jeronimo Yanez, shot and killed Philando Castile last month in Falcon Heights.
"Of course we're looking at this a little bit different because of some of the things that have occurred,” he said.
He wasn't alone.
"I think there's still a lot of hard feelings about what happened,” said neighbor Matt Hanson.
Hanson’s neighborhood got a visit from the chief.
He and other neighbors believed this ‘night out’ is perhaps the most important they've been to.
"I think there's a lot of pain, a lot of empathy and I think people are trying to find ways to connect to bring about some healing for the last month,” he said.
They tried to connect with each other and police.
"I think it's important get out to meet your police officers on national night out, so you can get to know them, meet them, see what kind of people they are,” said neighbor Vincent McKinney.
"I think this night is really important, especially this year with the shooting and how this community is grieving and struggling to deal with it,” added Eva Grooms.
They are still struggling, and perhaps more struggles will come as the Castile case is now in the hands of the Ramsey County Attorney, and his self-appointed special prosecutor.
But Tuesday night, the community did its best to come together.
"We're listening. We want to know how they feel, both good and bad,” said Mangseth.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, Chief Janee Harteau spent the evening stopping at various night out events, including one in the 4th Precinct not far from where police shot and killed Jamar Clark last year.
She said in the wake of the tension between community members and police, this night took on special meaning.
"National Night is important every year, but it's certainly important this year because there's been a lot of tension, a lot stress for our community members and certainly our law enforcement personal as well,” she said.
Minneapolis has had the most participation with National Night Out events among major cities in the country for the last four years.