Police shot and killed a 20-year-old black man outside Minneapolis on Sunday – just miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd.
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police said in a statement that officers arrested a driver for traffic violation on Sunday around 2 p.m. and then learned he had a pending warrant. They started to stop him, but “the driver got into the vehicle” and then a policeman shot him dead.
Police did not release the victim’s name, but Katie Wright identified him as her son, Daunte Wright, 20.
The shooting led hundreds of people gather outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters on Sunday night. The police fired tear gas, projectilesand flash-bang grenades on protesters, captured by pictures and videos tweeted from the scene. Later, around 11:30 p.m., police declared the protests “illegal” and threatened to arrest anyone who remained, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Monday morning that about twenty companies were looted.
Earlier today, hundreds of people gathered at the scene of Wright’s death. Police officers arrived in riot gear, according to Kim Hyatt, reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Some protesters smashed a police car windshield, and a policeman shot a man with a rubber bullet, Hyatt tweeted.
Wright’s mother Katie said her son was taking his new car to have it cleaned when he was pulled over by police, according to a tweet from MPR News. journalist Tim Nelson. In a video shared on Facebook Live, Katie Wright said he was arrested for having air fresheners in his car. (In some states, it is illegal to hang air fresheners from a rearview mirror.)
Brooklyn Center police did not disclose a specific “traffic violation” in their statement. The police officers involved were carrying body cameras which, according to the police, “were activated during this incident”.
Wright’s girlfriend was in the car at the time of the shooting. Brooklyn Center police said a female passenger in the car was treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Wright is the father of a young child, Daunte Jr., who turns 2 in July, according to Star Tribune reporter Kim Hyatt.
Wright’s death comes at a time of heightened tension in and around Minneapolis, with a verdict looming for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd’s death sparked a wave of protests across the country last year , and the country’s police responded to these protests with violence.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed Floyd, has been on trial for murder since early March. When the trial began, government buildings in Minneapolis were surrounded by barricades and fences, and authorities called in thousands of police and National Guard members.
The national guard has arrived at the Brooklyn Center Monday morning in the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting, according to Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix. Harrington, the commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said state soldiers are also being deployed in the area, and government officials are consider a curfew, according to Tim Nelson, reporter for Minneapolis Public Radio.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a state agency that assists with certain state and local police investigations, tweeted on Sunday that officers are on their way to the Brooklyn Center to investigate the shooting.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tweeted on Sunday that he “was closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center” and that he “prayed for the family of Daunte Wright as our state mourns another life of a black man taken by law enforcement.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott tweeted on Sunday that the shooting was “tragic”. He called on the protesters to be peaceful and the police not to respond with force.
Brooklyn Center police did not respond to a request for comment.