Another Black man has lost his life to a Minneapolis police officer.
On Sunday, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb during a traffic stop, triggering violent demonstrations that lasted into Monday’s early hours. Officers in riot gear clashed with protesters while the victim’s mother called for peace after her son was shot.
It’s the same metropolitan area currently on edge about the trial of the police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted he was praying for Wright’s family “as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, tried to suppress any tension before the altercation between demonstrators and law enforcement in Brooklyn Center.
She said, “All the violence if it keeps going it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” adding that, “We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars because that’s not going to bring my son back.”
Protesters gathered near the scene waving banners and posters that read “Black Lives Matter,” but police did not immediately identify Wright. Others marched in silence with their hands raised, and “Justice for Daunte Wright” was written in multicolored chalk in the street.
Officers intercepted a motorist just before 2 p.m. Sunday, according to a statement from Brooklyn Center police. Police attempted to apprehend the driver after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. Police say that the driver re-entered the car, and an officer shot at it, striking the driver. The vehicle traveled several miles before colliding with another vehicle.
Wright’s family’s version of the shooting varied, with Katie Wright claiming that he was shot before getting back into the car.
During an altercation with Minneapolis police in June, Wright was wanted for running from officers and carrying a gun without a permit, according to court records. A probable cause statement stated that police received a call about a man waving a gun, later identified as Wright.
Following a preliminary autopsy and family notification, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the person who died Sunday, according to police. During the collision, a female passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Brooklyn Center is a 30,000-person community on the northwest outskirts of Minneapolis.
The passenger, according to Katie Wright, was her son’s girlfriend. As he was being pulled over, Wright said her son called her.
She said, “All he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car.” During the call, she said she heard tussling and then someone saying, “Daunte, don’t run,” before the call ended. When she called back, her son’s girlfriend said he had been shot.
Shortly after the shooting and accident, demonstrators gathered, with some jumping into police vehicles and assaulting officers. At a news conference, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that marchers had descended on the Brooklyn Center police department building, throwing rocks and other officers’ items. By 1:15 a.m. Monday, he said, the demonstrators had mostly dispersed.
According to Harrington, at the city’s Shingle Creek shopping center, about 20 businesses had been broken into. Law enforcement officials were working together to quell the violence, and the National Guard had been called.
Mayor Mike Elliott of Brooklyn Center imposed a curfew in the area, which ended at 6 a.m. Monday. “We want to make sure everyone is safe,” he said in a tweet. “Please stay safe, and please go home.”
According to police, officers in Brooklyn Center wear body cameras and claim dash cameras were triggered during the incident. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been ordered to investigate.
Derek Chauvin’s trial, in which he was convicted in Floyd’s death as a former Minneapolis cop, was set to resume on Monday. Floyd, a Black man, died after Chauvin pushed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Floyd was allegedly pinned for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, according to prosecutors.
In addition to the staff already in place for Chauvin’s trial at the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis, Harrington said more National Guard members and state law enforcement personnel would be deployed throughout the Twin Cities and in Brooklyn Center.
Outside the courthouse, which was reinforced ahead of Chauvin’s trial with tall fencing topped with barbed wire, coils of razor wire between the fences, and concrete barriers, there was no noticeable improvement in the already high-security presence on Monday morning. Sheriff’s deputies and county security officers, as well as National Guard troops in military vehicles, remained on the lookout.
Brooklyn Center Community Schools Superintendent Carly Baker said in a statement since school buildings will be closed on Monday, all Brooklyn Center students will be taught online.
“We are focused on taking steps at the moment. I haven’t entirely processed the tragedy that took place in our community, and I’m prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, staff members, and community members, ” Baker said. “We know our community experienced trauma, and we need the time and space to process.”