Police shot dead a 20-year-old black man on Sunday on the outskirts of Minneapolis, a few miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd.
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police said in a statement that officers removed a driver for a traffic violation around 2 a.m. Sunday and then learned he had a pending order. He was arrested, but “the driver re-entered the vehicle” and then an officer shot him.
Police did not disclose the victim’s name, however Katie Wright identified him like his son, Daunte Wright, 20.
The shot led hundreds of people to gather in front of the Brooklyn Center police department headquarters Sunday night. Police fired him tear gas, projectiles, i flash-bang grenades to the protesters, as captured by images i videos has 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 20 businesses had been looted.
Earlier in the day, hundreds had gathered at the site of Wright’s death. Police officers arrived with riot police, according to Minneapolis Star Tribune journalist Kim Hyatt. Some protesters destroyed the police car windshields, and a police officer shot a man with a rubber bullet, Hyatt tweeted.
Wright’s mother, Katie, said her son was driving his new car to clean it when police dragged him, according to a tweet from MPR News reporter Tim Nelson. In a video shared on Facebook Live, Katie Wright said she was arrested for having air fresheners in her 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. Officers involved were carrying body cameras, which according to police “were activated during this incident.”
Wright’s girlfriend was reportedly in the car at the time of the shooting. Brooklyn Center police said a woman in the car was treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Wright is the father of a small child, Daunte Jr., who will turn 2 in July, according to Star Tribune journalist Kim Hyatt.
Wright’s death comes at a time of heightened tension in and around Minneapolis, with a verdict over the assassination of George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd’s death sparked a wave of protests last year, and police across the country 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 they were government buildings in Minneapolis surrounded by barricades and fences, and authorities summoned thousands of police officers and members of the National Guard.
The National Guard arrived at the Brooklyn Center Monday morning following Sunday’s shooting, according to Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix. Harrington, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner, said state soldiers are too being deployed in the area, and state officials are considering a curfew, according to Minneapolis public radio journalist Tim Nelson.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a state agency that assists in certain state and local police investigations, he tweeted on Sunday that officers head to the Brooklyn Center to investigate the shooting.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz he tweeted on Sunday that he “closely watched the situation at the Brooklyn Center” and “prayed for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a black man taken by law enforcement.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott he tweeted on Sunday that the shooting was “tragic.” He called on protesters to be peaceful and not to respond forcefully to the police.
Brooklyn Center police did not respond to any requests for comment.