BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota – A the curfew has been lifted early Monday after police murdered by police on a 20-year-old black man during a traffic stop sparked a night of protests.
Daunte Wright’s death comes as Minneapolis, 10 miles south, was on edge in the middle of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces murder charges for the death of George Floyd last May.
A woman who identified herself as Wright’s mother, according to a Facebook Live video, said her son was arrested because of air fresheners hanging in his rearview mirror. Brooklyn Center police said in a declaration the driver they arrested had an outstanding warrant and got back into the vehicle when they attempted to take him into custody.
Police responded on Sunday with riot gear as protesters gathered in the town, mourning Wright’s death. Video posted on twitter showed police firing gas and a chemical agent at protesters who gathered at the police department on Sunday evening.
Early Monday, Humvees, construction vehicles and police surrounded the building in departmental sign graffiti and littered debris.
Here’s what we know on Monday:
What happened during the filming of Daunte Wright?
The Brooklyn Center Police Department said in a statement that officers issued a traffic stop around 2 p.m. Sunday. The statement did not indicate the reason for the initial stop other than a “traffic violation”. Officers determined the driver had an outstanding warrant and attempted to take him into custody, police said.
The driver got into his vehicle and a policeman shot him dead, police said. The car rolled several more blocks before colliding with another vehicle. Police said the driver died at the scene and a woman in the passenger seat was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
No one in the other vehicle was injured, police said. Officers were also wearing body cameras, which were said to have been activated during the incident, the department said. The cameras on the dashboard of the police vehicles were also said to have been activated during the incident.
Daunte’s mother Katie Wright told reporters her son was driving a vehicle the family gave him weeks ago and called her as he was pulled over with his girlfriend in the car, reported the New York Times.
“He called me around 1:40 am, said he was being stopped by the police,” she said in a Facebook Live video. “He said they arrested him because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.”
The police department said it had asked the Criminal Arrests Bureau to conduct an independent investigation.
Mayor Mike Elliott said a press conference will be held Monday morning at Brooklyn Center City Hall.
What happened during the protests at the Brooklyn Center?
People gathered at the Brooklyn Center shortly after news of Wright’s death broke.
Wright’s family and friends were among those who marched through the streets and carried signs and flags that read Black Lives Matter.
About 100 people had gathered near the scene where Wright died, according to the Star-Tribune. Protesters pushed the police tape, confronted officers donning riot gear and smashing the windshields of two police cars. Police fired non-lethal bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd, the newspaper reported.
At the police department, a large crowd was encountered with armored policemen who formed a riot line. The demonstration there had been largely peaceful until then.
Police issued scatter orders and fired tear gas, lightning and rubber bullets at the crowd of around 500 who had gathered, the Star-Tribune reported.
John Harrington, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said protesters started throwing stones and other objects. The group had mainly dispersed around 1:15 a.m. Monday.
At the Shingle Creek Mall, around 20 businesses were robbed, he said. The Star-Tribune reported that looters targeted a Walmart and destroyed several nearby businesses.
Windows at a GameStop and UPS store were smashed Monday morning and debris was on the ground outside.
The National Guard was activated on Sunday and Elliott ordered a 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Monday. Elliot said he had been in contact with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.
“I am monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center closely. Gwen and I pray for the family of Daunte Wright as our state mourns another life of a black man taken by law enforcement,” Walz tweeted on Sunday.
“Our hearts go out to (Wright’s) family and to all of our community affected by this tragedy,” Elliott said in a statement. “While we await further information from the BCA conducting the investigation, we continue to call on members of our community gathering to do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability.”
Brooklyn Center community schools buildings were closed Monday and classes will take place virtually, Superintendent Dr. Carly Baker said in a statement.
“We are focused on taking action at this time. I have not fully addressed the tragedy that has taken place in our community and I am prioritizing the safety and well-being of our students, families, staff members. staff and community members, ”said Baker.
In Minneapolis, photos shared on social networks showed people gathering at the site of George Floyd’s death, which has turned into a memorial, and painted “Justice for Daunte Wright” on the street.
Who was Daunte Wright?
As she spoke with her son during the traffic stop, Katie Wright said she told him to give officers the phone so she could give them insurance information, the New reported. York Times.
“Then I heard the policeman come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car,'” she said, according to The Times.
Wright told the Star-Tribune that she heard a fight during the call and someone was saying, “Daunte, don’t run.” The call ended and when she called back Wright’s girlfriend told her mother he had been shot, the Star-Tribune reported.
Aubrey Wright told the Washington Post that her son was driving to wash a car when he was shot.
Wright said he was at the grocery store when his wife called him to tell him their son had been shot. He told the Post he arrived at the scene within 10 minutes and saw his son’s 2011 Buick LaCrosse partially destroyed and his body on the ground covered with a sheet.
“I know my son. He was scared. He (still had) the spirit of a 17-year-old because we kept him, “Wright told the Post. “If he resisted arrest, you could taser him.” I do not understand it.
Daunte Wright also had a 2-year-old child, her father told the newspaper. He said Wright dropped out of high school due to a learning disability, but worked in various retail and restaurant jobs to support his son.
“He was a great kid,” Wright told the Post. “He was a normal child. He never had any serious problems. He enjoyed spending time with his 2 year old son. He loved his son.
On Monday morning, in the neighborhood where the shooting took place, the crime scene tape remained, but the police were not present.
Jennifer Nagel, 38, of the Brooklyn Center, was cleaning the street. “We have to take care of each other,” said Nagel, a teacher and mother of young children. “It could have been any of those students, my students.”
“Now is not the right time for another black man to be killed by the police,” said Des Odoms, 30, whose apartment is near the police station. Odoms said tear gas was fired at his apartment as he watched the protests unfold on Sunday.
The shooting comes after at least two other cases in which Brooklyn Center police shot or arrested someone who later died.
In 2019, an autistic man, Kobe Dimock-Heisler, 21, was fatally shot in a fight with police. KARE-TV reported that the police first tried to Tase Dimock-Heisler, who grabbed a knife from the cushion of a sofa before the police shot him. No charges were laid against the officers in charge of the case.
In 2015, a man from St. Paul died days after being hit by a Brooklyn Center police officer and hit his head. The Star-Tribune reported that Sinthanouxay Khottavongsa, 57, was holding a crowbar and that police responding to a brawl report told him to drop it before the Tasering. Khottavongsa hit his head while falling and died from his injuries, the newspaper reported.
How are things going with Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minneapolis?
Just south of Brooklyn Center in Minneapolis, the third week of testimony in Chauvin’s trial was scheduled to begin on Monday. Chauvin is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd in police custody on May 25, 2020.
After the video of Floyd’s death was released last May, widespread protests erupted over several days in Minneapolis and cities across the United States.
Contribution: Grace Hauck and N’dea Yancey-Bragg