Police shot and killed a 20-year-old black man outside Minneapolis on Sunday – just a few miles from Derek Chauvin, who is on trial for the murder of George Floyd.
Police at Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, said in a statement that officials stopped a driver for a traffic violation at around 2 p.m. Sunday, and then learned he had a pending arrest warrant. They started arresting him, but “the driver got back into the vehicle,” and then an officer shot him dead.
Police did not disclose the victim’s name, but Katie Wright identified him as her son, 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
The shooting resulted in hundreds of people gathering outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters on Sunday evening. Police fired tear gas, projectiles and lightning grenades at protesters, images and videos tweeted from the scene showed. Later, around 11:30 pm, police declared the protests “unlawful” and threatened to arrest anyone who was left, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. John Harrington, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Security, alleged Monday morning that about 20 companies had been looted.
Earlier in the day hundreds had gathered at the site of Wright’s death. Police in riot gear arrived, according to Kim Hyatt, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Some protesters smashed police car windscreens and a police officer shot a man with a rubber bullet, Hyatt tweeted.
Wright’s mother, Katie, said her son took his new car to clean when it was stopped by police, according to a tweet from MPR news reporter Tim Nelson. In a video shared on Facebook Live, Katie Wright said he was stopped in his car for air fresheners. (Some states make it illegal to dangle air fresheners from a rearview mirror.)
The Brooklyn Center Police Department did not disclose a specific “traffic violation” in their statement. The officers involved wore body cameras that police believe were “activated during this incident.”
Wright’s girlfriend was reportedly in the car at the time of the shooting. Brooklyn Center police said a passenger in the car had been treated for injury at a local hospital.
Wright is the father of a young child, Daunte Jr., who will turn two 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 on the assassination of George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd’s death sparked a spate of protests across the country last year, and police across the country responded 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 the authorities called in thousands of police officers and members of the National Guard.
According to Andy Mannix, the Star Tribune reporter, the National Guard arrived at the Brooklyn Center on Monday morning after the shooting on Sunday. Harrington, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said state troops are also stationed in the area and state officials are considering a curfew, according to Tim Nelson, a reporter for Minneapolis Public Radio.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a statewide agency that helps with certain state and local police investigations, tweeted Sunday that agents were on their way to the Brooklyn Center to investigate the shooting.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz tweeted Sunday that he is “closely monitoring the situation at Brooklyn Center” and “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state grieves for another life of a black man taken by law enforcement”.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott tweeted Sunday that the shooting was “tragic”. He urged the protesters to be peaceful and not to force the police to respond.
Brooklyn Center Police did not respond to a request for comment.