BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota – Communities across the country marched and mourned Tuesday for the third night in a row in memory of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a police officer after a traffic stop in the weekend course.
Police and protesters clashed again in central Brooklyn after dark, with hundreds of protesters gathered in the city’s heavily guarded police headquarters, now surrounded by concrete barriers and a high metal fence, and where riot gear and National Guard soldiers kept watch. “Murderapolis” was scrawled with black spray paint on a concrete barrier.
“Whose street is it?” Our street! the crowd sang under a light snowfall.
About 90 minutes before the curfew deadline, state police announced over loudspeakers that the gathering had been declared illegal and ordered the crowds to disperse. This quickly sparked clashes, with protesters throwing fireworks at the train station and throwing objects at police, who threw flashbangs and gas grenades, then marched in a line to repel the crowds.
“You are hereby ordered to disperse,” authorities said, warning that anyone who did not leave would be arrested. State police said the dispersal order came before the 10 p.m. curfew as protesters attempted to knock down fences and throw stones at police. The number of protesters dropped rapidly over the next hour, until only a few remained. The police also ordered all members of the media to leave the scene and threatened them with arrest.
At least one person was injured when police fired crowd control ammunition, video shown.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said about 60 people had been arrested in connection with the Brooklyn Center protests ranging from “the riot and criminal behavior “and urged the public for help.
“It is not acceptable and it will not be tolerated if you choose to engage in criminal activity and destroy property and throw objects and make it dangerous for people to come and exercise their First Amendment rights.”
“The Brooklyn Center passed a resolution banning unnecessary crowd control measures designed to quell protests, including rubber bullets, tear gas and kettles,” The American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Minnesota said on Twitter. “We urge all law enforcement agencies out there to follow this policy and remember that honoring the Constitution is part of your job.”
Across town, more than two dozen prayed and paid homage in freezing weather at the memorial erected Monday night where Wright was killed – a giant rusty-brown sculpture of a clenched fist, surrounded by bouquets of flowers, messages and candles .
Samuel Howell, 65, of Princeton, Minnesota, fell to his knees and began to cry at the sight. He told USA TODAY that he was a former cop from San Bernardino, Calif., But his son-in-law was black.
“I’m just thinking, ‘What if that’s him?’” He said. “‘Or my grandchildren?’ Lives are precious. “
Two women comforted him and gave him a hug, saying that “we will be okay together.”
“The whole community feels helpless,” said Katie Russell, 34, of Brooklyn Park. “All we can do right now is comfort each other.”
As the Brooklyn Center mourned, other cities across the country began to protest.
Several dozen people marched through downtown Chicago on Tuesday night, calling for justice for Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy shot dead by a Chicago police officer in late March. According to videos of the protest shared on social media, protesters could be heard chanting: “Say his name, Daunte Wright!”
Lamar Whitfield of the No More Foundation, organized in the wake of George Floyd’s assassination by a police officer in Minneapolis, said that by showing solidarity, activists would be taken seriously by those responsible.
In Columbus, Ohio, protesters entered the police headquarters, which was locked with handcuffs, according to a student newspaper. Lantern. Police used pepper spray as she tried to get inside.
Dozens of people marched through downtown Sacramento, Calif., Facing police at a shopping complex, according to local media FOX-40.
About 50 people held a vigil for Wright in Seattle, Washington. Police arrested one for chalk drawing, a practice banned in the city.
In Dallas, Texas, protesters blocked roads. As protesters marched towards the Portland Police Association in Oregon, they set off fireworks and police declared a riot, according to a Twitter video. And in Philadelphia, over 200 people marched.
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Earlier Tuesday, earlier Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police, submitted his letter of resignation, Mayor Mike Elliott said at a press conference. He said the city didn’t ask her to resign, but decided to fire her.
“I loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow police officers if I resign immediately,” Potter wrote in the letter, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Police chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday. Cmdr. Tony Gruenig, who has worked in the department for 19 years, will take over as interim head.
A decision on whether prosecutors will indict Potter could come as early as Wednesday. The Minnesota Police and Peacekeepers Association said in a statement that “no conclusions should be drawn until the investigation is completed.”
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Apprehension Bureau identified Potter as the officer who shot Wright on Sunday. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest and ruled his death a homicide.
Gannon said he believed Potter mistook his gun for his Taser when she shot Wright. The department released body camera footage of the incident in which Potter yelled “Taser” several times before shooting, then expressed surprise upon realizing that she had shot Wright.
Wright’s family called the officer to account on Tuesday in an emotional press conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
“I hope since she took the lead and resigned, they hold her up (responsibility) because she was the law,” said Wright’s aunt Naisha Wright.
Crump said he was stunned to learn that another black man had been killed by police not far from where former cop Derek Chauvin was on trial for the death of George Floyd.
“If you told me and I didn’t see little Daunte’s face and his mother and grandmother crying, I wouldn’t believe it,” Crump said alongside the Wright and Floyd families.
Crump said he believed that during the trial, “the police would behave their best, that they would exercise the utmost care, that they would focus on de-escalation in a way they never got around to. concentrated in America “.
Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, called the day of her son’s death “the worst day of my life”. She described the phone call she received while he was arrested and how, after being shot, the woman in the passenger seat of the car video called her – and she saw her son without life in the driver’s seat.
Meanwhile, the cities of Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul have imposed 10 p.m. curfews.
Wright’s death on Sunday shook a nation already troubled by a spate of police killings.
Floyd died about 10 miles away in a police arrest last May, an incident that led to protests across the country calling for an end to racial injustice and police brutality.
About a six-hour drive from where Wright died, the Kenosha, Wis., Officer who shot dead Jacob Blake, a paralyzed black man from the waist up after the August shooting, returned to regular duty and did not will face no administrative discipline.
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Chief Daniel Miskinis posted a press release on Twitter on Tuesday saying Rusten Sheskey was also allowed to violate internal policies and resumed after months of administrative leave since March 31.
Contributors: Grace Hauck, Ryan W. Miller, Erik Ferkenhoff and Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY; Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press