BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – A 20-year-old black man died after a police officer accidentally shot him while a traffic obstruction in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, the Brooklyn Center police chief said Monday.
According to state and city officials, the shooting sparked protests, looting and clashes with the police until Monday morning. The man who died was later identified as Daunte Wright.
At a press conference on Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon presented a video with a body camera showing police approaching Mr. Wright’s car . Mr. Wright gets out of the car and gets back in when the police try to pull him out again. Another officer points a gun at Mr. Wright and repeatedly says that she would use her taser. The car spins off and the officer can say, « Holy shit, I shot him. »
Chief Gannon said he saw it as « an accidental discharge that resulted in the death of Mr. Wright ». He said he believed the officer accidentally used her gun in place of a taser, which should have been used if officers are trained.
Chief Gannon said he posted the video because he felt it to be transparent and to show respect to Mr. Wright’s family. « It was very important for me to get the video out as soon as possible, » he said.
The murder takes place under tight security for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering George Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death led to peaceful marches, arson, looting and violence in Minneapolis and across the country. Since the trial began, there have been a number of protests in Minneapolis calling for justice. You involved a few hundred people, but all of them were peaceful.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said the shooting of Mr. Wright could not have happened at a worse time.
« Our hearts are aching right now, we’re in pain right now, » said Mr. Elliott. “We acknowledge that this is happening at a time when our church, all of America, indeed the whole world, is watching our church. That we are all devastated together and for over a year by killing
and that we continue to be desperate as we go through the Derek Chauvin Process. “
The mayor said he would support the dismissal of the policeman who shot Mr. Wright. She has been taken on administrative leave.
Police Chief Gannon said the officer concerned, whom he described as a « very high-ranking officer, » will not return to duty until the investigation is over.
« I think we can meet watch the video and see if she’ll be back, « he said.
Police at Brooklyn Center, which is bordered by Minneapolis, said the shooting occurred while trying to hit a driver with a pending arrest warrant for a traffic obstruction to be taken into custody shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday.
Mr. Elliott said Mr. Wright’s car drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle and the officers provided medical assistance.
A woman in the vehicle at the time of the accident suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital, according to police.
On Monday morning, police in hard hats and members of the National Guard lined the sidewalk outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, where a stone sign had been sprayed with anti-police graffiti.
Spectators gathered around from across the street to watch. A woman dressed in black was standing with a large white sign on her legs. The words « Silence is Violence » were written in black markings. Another carried a black and white flag that read « Black Lives Matter ».
A truck used an attached crane to raise cement barriers from its bunk in front of the building.
In an interview by local Media broadcast said a woman identified as Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, said he was run over because of the air fresheners hanging on his rearview mirror. She said her son called her from the car to ask where the insurance information was and heard officials asking him to get out of the car. A brawl broke out and one of the officers said, « Daunte, don’t run » before the call was cut off. She called back a minute later and spoke to Daunte’s friend, who said he was shot, she said in the interview.
Brooklyn Center police did not immediately respond to a call for comment on the mother’s account. Previously, they referred questions to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating. John Harrington, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Security, said in an overnight press conference that 100 to 200 people were in the police department of the Brooklyn Center marched. Some people threw stones and shots were fired. Another group of people broke into about 20 businesses in a mall.
The crowd largely dispersed overnight, he said. The Minnesota National Guard, state and local law enforcement agencies, who were on high alert about Mr. Chauvin’s trial, have been deployed to keep the area safe, he said.
A Minneapolis activist Nekima Levy Armstrong, posted a video late Sunday night of police using lightning grenades to disperse the crowd.
Videos shared on social media showed looters holding goods away
and other nearby businesses in Brooklyn Center. Some businesses were completely evacuated, according to the posts.
Mr. Harrington said the National Guard was also deployed in Minneapolis, where there were also reports of looting.
Governor Tim Walz
said he was following the situation closely, naming the man who was shot and killed in a tweet late Sunday night.
« Gwen and I pray for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life for a black man who died from was taken from law enforcement, « the governor wrote.
In a video message posted on Twitter, he said he had spoken to Governor Walz and was in contact with Mr. Harrington.
» Our entire community is grieved, after today’s officer shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old young man, and our hearts go out to his family, « he said.
White House Press Secretary
President Biden has been informed of the police shooting and is in contact with Messrs Walz and Elliott.
« We are incredibly saddened by the loss of life by law enforcement in Minnesota yesterday, » Ms. Psaki told reporters Monday. « It is a reminder of the pain, anger, trauma and exhaustion felt by many communities across the country as we see these incidents continue to occur. »
A Minneapolis activist, Nekima Levy Armstrong , posted a video late Sunday evening in which the police used flash grenades to disperse the crowd.
Police turned off the lights in front of the train station as protesters gathered overnight, according to the people who were there and videos posted on social media. « When the lights are out, it’s hard to tell who is peaceful and who is not, » said Angela Myers, the president of the NAACP in Minneapolis, after the police chief’s press conference Monday.
Activists demanded the release of the police officer who shot Mr. Wright after the press conference. They also said the chief handled protests outside the police department overnight and also called for his dismissal. Ms. Levy Amstrong, who was outside the police department overnight, said the protesters were greeted by « militarized police ». She said Mr. Wright was « killed in terribly questionable circumstances. » Further protests are planned for Monday evening.
During the press conference on Monday, Chief Gannon defended the police handling of the nightly protests. He said police had repeatedly asked for payouts because it was an unlawful gathering and officials had become targets for concrete blocks and frozen beverage cans. Officers replied in kind, he said. An officer was hit in the head with a brick and injured, he said, and was taken to a hospital. Only two people were arrested, he said.
« We had to disperse the crowd because we couldn’t let our officers get hurt, » said Chief Gannon.
« I’m the head of this division. They expect me to lead. Create a safe city. That’s what I’m trying to do, ”said Chief Gannon. « So that’s it, OK, and yes, I’m emotional. I’m just trying to be honest. »