BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota – A the curfew has been lifted Monday morning in a Minnesota town where protests erupted the night before after the family of a 20-year-old black man said he was shot by police before getting back into his car and crashing over late several blocks away.
Daunte Wright’s death in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota comes as Minneapolis, just 10 miles south, was already agitated amid the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murder for the death of George Floyd.
Wright died Sunday after a traffic stop. 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 then determined the driver had an outstanding warrant and then attempted to take him into custody, police said.
The driver got into his vehicle and a policeman then 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 also wore body cameras, which the department said were activated, as well as a dash camera.
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 walked the streets carrying signs and flags that read “Black Lives Matter.”
According to the Star-Tribune, around 100 people had gathered near the scene of Wright’s death. 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, but the group mostly 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.
The National Guard was activated 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.”
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.
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 as well as in cities across the United States.
The prosecution in the trial is expected to call its last witnesses this week, starting with another doctor. Last week, experts and police officials testified on the proper use of force charge, and medical professionals testified on Floyd’s death.
Contribution: Grace Hauck and N’dea Yancey-Bragg