UPDATE: Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said,
“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet…”
A Brooklyn Center police officer fatally shot 20 year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon, inflaming already raw tensions between police and community members in the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial.
Hundreds of people marched towards the town’s police department Sunday night after the man died following a traffic stop and subsequent car crash.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wrote in a tweet,
“Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Police said they were trying to take a man into custody after they determined he had outstanding warrants during a traffic stop.
The driver, who had a warrant, got back into the vehicle as officers were trying to take him into custody. That’s when an officer discharged a weapon, striking the driver, police said.
According to the Star Tribune,
Relatives of Daunte Wright, 20, who is Black, told a tense crowd gathered at the scene in the northern Minneapolis suburb Sunday afternoon that Wright drove for a short distance after he was shot, crashed his car, and died at the scene.
Protesters later walked to the Brooklyn Center police headquarters near N. 67th Avenue and N. Humboldt Avenue and were locked in a standoff with police in riot gear late Sunday night. Officers repeatedly ordered the crowd of about 500 to disperse as protesters chanted Wright’s name and climbed atop the police headquarters sign, by then covered in graffiti. Police used tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets on the crowd.
National Guard troops arrived just before midnight as looters targeted the Brooklyn Center Walmart and nearby shopping mall. Several businesses around the Walmart were completely destroyed, including Foot Locker, T Mobile, and a New York men’s clothing store.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, tearfully pleaded near the scene Sunday afternoon for more information and for her son’s body to be moved from the street. She also urged the protesters to remain peaceful.
Wright said, explaining that her son called her when he was getting pulled over. During the call, she said she heard scuffling and then someone saying,
“All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car. Daunte, don’t run…”
“He got out of the car, and his girlfriend said they shot him. He got back in the car, and he drove away and crashed and now he’s dead on the ground since 1:47. … Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us. … I said please take my son off the ground...
He didn’t deserve to be shot and killed like this.”
Looting was widespread late Sunday into early Monday, spilling into north and south Minneapolis. Reports said that stores in Uptown and along Lake Street were also being looted.
This fresh outrage came as Twin Cities officials and law enforcement are already on edge as Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, stands trial on murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.
Law enforcement has already been bracing for unrest once the jury reaches a verdict, erecting barricades and marshaling an intense police presence at the Hennepin County Government Center. The trial, which is being livestreamed, has drawn international attention. It resumes today.
Within hours of the shooting, a couple hundred people had gathered near the scene, where emotions were running high.
Protesters pushed past police tape and confronted officers donning riot gear. Around 7:15 p.m., the crowd broke the windshields of two squad cars and police fired nonlethal rounds to try to disperse the crowd.
By 8:30 p.m., the remaining crowd gathered to light candles, burn sage and write messages in chalk on the street near the scene.
I’m out here in Brooklyn Center w my colleagues, trying to learn the facts of a man who was shot and killed by police here tonight. I’ll tweet updates from scene, but follow https://t.co/gwTgMKjiKa for the latest story. pic.twitter.com/xXB1GyMNPk— Andy Mannix (@AndrewMannix) April 12, 2021
Large crowd is pressing up against a line of officers in riot gear outside Brooklyn Center police department after motorist was shot by officer. Police have issued unlawful assembly order and given people 10 minutes to leave. @mprnews pic.twitter.com/POPncarlbt— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) April 12, 2021
I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 12, 2021