*Police shot and killed a Black man on Sunday during a traffic stop, sparking protests and unrest in a suburb just miles away from where George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis last May.
The victim was identified by relatives and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as 20-Year-Old Daunte Wright. Walz said on Twitter Sunday evening; “Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told reporters at the scene that she received a call from her son on Sunday afternoon telling her that police had pulled him over for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror, illegal in Minnesota. She said she told him to put the police officers on the phone so she could give them car insurance details.
She then heard police tell her son to get out of the vehicle, she said, according to video shot by KARE.
“I heard police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run,'” she said through tears. The call ended, and she dialed his number again, and his girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.
Watch Katie Wright’s interview below:
— Chris Hrapsky (@ChrisHrapsky) April 12, 2021
Brooklyn Center police said in a statement that officers pulled over a man for a traffic violation at shortly before 2 p.m., and found he had an outstanding arrest warrant. As police tried to take him into custody, he got back in the car. One officer shot the man, who was not identified in the statement. Wright reportedly drove several blocks before striking another vehicle and dying at the scene.
After the shooting a crowd of around 100 “highly agitated” people gathered, said John Harrington, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in a press conference. According to WPSD-6, the state mobilized the National Guard after crowds of between 100 to 200 gathered in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Sunday evening, and a curfew was ordered through Monday morning. Rocks and other objects were thrown at the Brooklyn Center Police Department building and there were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department, said Harrington. The unrest came after the police had heard reports of a crowd of between 100 and 200 people marching toward the police department.
Officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas, NBC News affiliate KARE reported. The front door of the Brooklyn Park Police Department, located around 8 miles from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was struck by gunfire, shattering the glass, police said in a statement. Brooklyn Park Police officers were not involved in the shooting but assisted Brooklyn Center Police with the “civil unrest” that took place after, the department said.
Watch news footage of the shooting and unrest below:
Harrington said about 20 businesses were reportedly broken into at a nearby shopping center. The curfew was put in place in the suburb of Minneapolis, “so that we can continue to keep our community safe,” Mayor Mike Elliott said in a statement on Twitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2021
BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Today, Mayor Mike Elliott released the following statement in response to a Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue in Brooklyn Center shortly before 2p.m. on Sunday, April 11, 2021.
— Mayor Mike Elliott (@mayor_elliott) April 12, 2021
The Minnesota branch of the American Civil Liberties Union called for an “immediate, transparent and independent investigation by an outside agency,” and for the quick release of any body-cam footage. It also said that it has “deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.”